Replacing Stress and Depression with Joy! Joy! Joy!: #BookReview and #AuthorInterview
The subtitle of Joy! Joy! Joy! says it all. Read this book and you’ll discover 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy – I Did It! You Too Can Bust the Blues.
Ellen Wood, author of the award-winning Think and Grow Young, now shares how she transformed her many physical and emotional problems to remain peaceful and joyous by making these practices into daily habits: observing your thoughts, releasing toxic emotions, using affirmations, power posing, dry brushing your skin, meditating and doing something good for someone.
Her gripping memoir of depression, Alzheimer symptoms, cancer and other distressing situations are interwoven with how she coped, and then miraculously freed herself of chronic stress and the blues.
Ellen cites many experts and clinical studies that show how these quick and simple Mind-Body-Spirit practices help people remain calm, productive and joyful no matter what is happening in the world around them.
She also sprinkles words of wisdom throughout her story:
“When something bad happens, say ‘Something good will come of this,’ then expect something good and watch for it.”
You can take charge of your thoughts and emotions, says the author, for example…
“Stress doesn’t come from what’s happening to us, but from our response to what’s happening.”
The book is entitled Joy! Joy! Joy! because if you put these techniques into practice, you’ll find yourself, like Ellen Wood, filled with joy for no reason, with a closer connection to your inner knowing and to spirit.
“Love is often an action first, then a feeling. You love yourself by taking actions in the direction of your wellbeing.”
Ellen Wood, at 80, is an inspirational speaker and writer, and I encourage readers of Joy! Joy! Joy! to follow her blueprint, using the bonus Daily Practice Checklists in the back of the book to help you anchor new habits that will transform your life too.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Ellen Wood, author of Joy! Joy! Joy!:
What would you like readers to take away from your new book?
In just minutes a day, by making these 7 mind/body/spirit practices into habits, you can change your life forever. If you’re stressed out and have the blues, and it seems like the whole world is going crazy, these habits can calm your mind and help you access inner peace and joy. If you are experiencing mild memory loss (and perhaps worrying about Alzheimer’s because a parent died of it), take heart: through these practices I was able to reverse early Alzheimer’s – even though I have the Alzheimer’s gene, APO-e4. Meditation alone has been proven in scientific studies to reverse memory loss, in addition to reducing stress, anxiety and depression, among other benefits. Some of these studies are cited in my book.
You write of reconnecting to your true nature. How does one do that?
By practicing Meditation (Daily Practice #6) and by experiencing “life” in the present moment through our senses (as explained in Daily Practice #7) – inviting our divine nature to see through our eyes, hear through our ears, taste with our mouth, smell with our nose and feel through our skin or fingertips – we can reconnect to our true nature. Observing our thoughts (Daily Practice #1), Releasing Toxic Emotions (Daily Practice #2) and Affirmations (Daily Practice #3), especially surrendering control and allowing our Inner Self to lead, are also techniques for reconnecting.
How can a person have joy – no matter what?
Our essential nature is JOY and we have access to that joy when we stay rooted in the present moment. Joy and love are innate. (On the other hand, HAPPINESS is dependent upon a situation or circumstance – often fleeting – that delights our human nature.) We suffer when we dwell on something terrible or regretful that happened in the past or we fear something that might happen in the future. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist and author of the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, survived and even experienced BLISS in the concentration camps of the Holocaust.
Why is it so important to be in the present moment?
There is POWER in the present moment. And we can access that power when we still our mind and experience the NOW moment.
Can you summarize how we can love ourselves just as we are, when we want to be better people?
Loving yourself just as you are is part of the PROCESS of creating a more magnificent you. I’ll give an example of why I say we can love ourselves just as we are AND want to do practices to CHANGE the way we are: Suppose you buy an old house – one that had been neglected and has a garden that is nothing but weeds. Shortly after fixing up the house and moving in, you go to the nursery and bring home flower seedlings. As you stand there for a moment and look at that garden full of weeds, if you’re like most people, you won’t think: Oh, I hate this garden. It’s so ugly.
No. You feel a thrill of creation as you decide which patch of earth to start on. Then you kneel down and pull out the weeds, turn over the soil, dig some holes, put the seedlings in, cover the roots with earth and pat around each one with both hands. And you love the feeling of creating your beautiful garden. In fact, you love your beautiful garden already even though most of it is still full of weeds.
Think of yourself as a garden you’re creating. Love yourself just as you are as you weed and till and plant the seeds of a more magnificent expression of you. Celebrate every sprout and the eventual flowers. Loving yourself just as you are is essential for creating happiness.
How would you recommend this book be best used?
Read it all the way through once or twice, then commit to making those 7 practices into habits. In the back of the book is a section that contains 12 weeks of daily checklists to prompt you as you go about each day. (Or request a Word doc of the checklists by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.) Start with just two practices. Choose the two you feel will be the easiest for you to do for 21 consecutive days. Then after three weeks with the first two practices, add two more for another 21 days and three weeks later add two more and when you start your tenth week, you’ll integrate all 7 practices into your daily routine. If it works better for you, aim for 5 days a week for three weeks instead of 21 consecutive days. Check the box to the left of each practice to indicate which practices you’re working on that week. This is the process I used for myself beginning 13 years ago. It totally changed my life. I no longer need the checklists or sticky notes or other reminders. Well, actually I still have sticky notes in my life, like the ones on my desk that say, “Something good will come of this” and “What marvelous things do you have for me today?” Here’s one I recently put by my TV, “Where my attention goes, energy flows. (Do I really want to be stuck in politics?)”
To sample Ellen’s inspiration, sign up for her free gifts, including Affirmations to Grow Younger, plus sample Chapters from Think and Grow Young and Joy! Joy! Joy! at http://bookofjoyjoyjoy.com/. Both her books are available at Amazon.com.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet