A famous scripture goes, "Men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). But how can we truly posses joy?
In the Webster dictionary (1828) joy is defined as "The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits. Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good."
So, if we are to possess joy in this life, and it is our purpose more or less, than we can start by having an expectation of good things to come.
One concept of hypnotherapy that we put into practice is called future pacing. Future pacing is when you allow yourself to imagine the future as being how you desire it to be, to see yourself accomplishing your goals. Yet how often do we set ourselves up for frustration and despair? We say things like, "If this doesn't work I am going to be so mad!" Then, if it does work, we may feel relief, but no joy. When all we need to do is to begin expecting the good by saying, "When this works, I am going to jump for joy!"
Expectation is the key to joy, and what we expect tends to be realized.
A study was done with mice that shows the power of expectation beyond our own actions. Two groups of mice were separated and put into similar mazes. Students were brought in to track the times it took the mice to run the race. The students were told that one group of mice were especially bread to be smart (when in reality they were not) and the other mice were labeled dumb (when really they weren't) (Aldean, A., 2017). This created an expectation in the minds of the observers that the mice in the special group would be faster. There expectation influenced the tests and the mice with the label of "smart" did twice as well and took the cheese first.
If we can learn to change our expectations to good things, rather than bad, we can begin to influence our life for good and wire ourselves for JOY!
Now, how do we wire ourselves for joy in this life when the only for sure expectation is death and taxes? That's were religion comes in for me. If you have been pushing off your religion and not paying attention to it, you are depriving yourself of joy. Expecting something good after this life is a joy that can take us beyond death and taxes. I am biased, because I grew up in the religion I now cling to. I firmly believe in Christ and the good that he will bring to us after this life if we live our life's in accordance to his commandments that come from God. In my mind it is the ultimate expectation of good; he promises "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool." (Isaiah). All our wrongs, sins, and mistakes will be erased, and we will receive every blessing from God, as if we deserved them all; when in reality Christ is the only one who deserves them all, but he gives them to us if we will keep his commandments.
Begin telling yourself how great you will feel when you accomplish your goals. Speaking what you want and not what you don't want. Cling to your religion, expect good things to come after this life, and find joy. for that is our purpose in life.