Choose Joy!

By Lynn Felder, RYT

Do you ever feel hopelessly buffeted by your emotions? Knocked about by circumstance? Have you ever wondered, "Why me?" If so, you could be stuck in habit patterns of the mind: Your mind has locked onto worry, anxiety and unhappiness.

Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. You can just as easily connect yourself to joy, happiness, peace, gratitude, kindness and love.

Yoga teaches us two seemingly opposite lessons:

1) That we should watch our thoughts and feelings. Whatever they happen to be, let them be. Thoughts and feelings come; thoughts and feelings go.

2) It is within our power to change our thoughts and feelings. At any moment, we can choose joy and peace over fear and worry. And yoga provides us with the tools to do just that.

Having a bad day? Stop. Breathe. Notice.

Notice the feelings, then notice what thoughts accompany them; we’ll often find that some habitual thought is egging on the bad feelings.

You know the thoughts I’m talking about: "I never do anything right," or "I never seem to please him/her" or "S/he always cheats me/treats me badly/disrespects me." And on and on it goes.

When you’ve discovered one of these habitual thoughts – by noticing what comes up when you’re meditating or practicing yoga or just stopping in the middle of a hectic day to check in with yourself – then you can begin to change it.

Instead of "I never do anything right," try on: "I am calm and confident; I have many skills and talents to give the world."

Instead of "I never seem to please him/her," ask, "Am I pleasing to myself, or to my Higher Power?"

Instead of "S/he always cheats me/treats me badly/disrespects me," decide to be conscious and competent enough not to be taken advantage of or just say a prayer for the person you think is doing you wrong.

Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, has this to say: "Whatever feelings you have within you are attracting your tomorrow.

"Worry attracts more worry. Anxiety attracts more anxiety. Unhappiness attracts more unhappiness. Dissatisfaction attracts more dissatisfaction...

"Joy attracts more joy. Happiness attracts more happiness. Peace attracts more peace. Gratitude attracts more gratitude. Kindness attracts more kindness. Love attracts more love.

"Your job is an inside one. To change your world, all you have to do is change the way you feel inside."

A short yoga practice – a few moments of kapilbhati pranayama; 3-part breathing (which you can do anywhere, anytime); or legs-up-the-wall – can bring you back into consciousness long enough to make decisions about your feelings and your right-now well-being.

So, just for today, choose joy, happiness, peace, gratitude, kindness and love.

Do it when you feed the cat; do it when you take your kids to school; do it when you’re driving to work.

Stop. Notice. Re-boot. Choose joy!


Copyright by Lynn Felder August 2010. Lynn Felder is an award-winning journalist, a yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and the author of the DVD “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients,” available at

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to and link to