Generating Joy (Even When Life Looks Bleak)

Most of us have felt completely “stuck” in a low-feeling place at some time. It’s a pretty universal human experience, right? But can we rapidly re-boot our experience from this low state of being? … YES we can.

Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified practitioner. These anecdotal ideas have worked for others but ultimately just represent my own personal experience. Do your own research and seek professional advice if you feel you may be suffering from a chronic mental illness.

Yesterday I had a weird, rollercoaster kind of day.

It left me feeling really low.

So I’m so grateful to have gained an experiential understanding that, whilst our emotional response to life is based on complex range of factors, the most impactful factors are just a few relatively simple things:

  1. Our Poisons
  2. Our Perspective
  3. Our Presence
  4. Our Position

I’ve covered these things before in other posts, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but just briefly…


This really falls into the broader category of what we choose to expose ourselves to; including food, drink, visual stimuli, environment, toxicity, what we choose to think about or listen to, etc.

However, our gut is the production point for many of our emotional neurochemicals, so what we eat and drink is of crucial importance.

This topic around the psychotropic nature of nutrition can be extremely complex and highly individualised based on body type, geographic location, inherited allergies and intollerances, pre-existing conditions and many other factors… but again, the main recommendations are incredibly simple:

  • eat more whole foods (predominantly fresh vegetables),
  • drink more pure water,
  • avoid packaged/processed foods (particularly toxic foods/substances like processed sugar, alcohol and man-made chemicals).

BTW, I think, in this area, over-simplification is actually much better than getting lost in the details and never making any conscious changes because “it’s all too hard”. Just try replacing toxic foods over time with better choices. Easy.


Our perspective is how we choose to view all the events and circumstances of life. It’s really important to note that this is within our control — we can choose a different perspective that serves us better if we want to — even for things completely outside our control.

It’s the whole “glass half full” concept. Easy (well, mostly).


In short, presence is our ability to be right here, right now, without our incessant narratives and past-future obsessions. It’s the only point of access to ultimate reality and to the bliss of pure states like joy and peace.

Meditation is the simplest practice I can recommend to develop this, because whilst something like a walk in nature can give you a deep feeling of presence, it does’t actually train you to find presence in more challenging circumstances.

Amongst many other things, in my early years of meditation I would sometimes practice open-eyed meditation, presence and mindfulness while listening to my mother rant on about polarising subjects or endlessly circular conversations about needless anxieties, but shhhh!! — don’t let her know that! haha

My last post talked about this topic in more detail, so I recommend you check it out if you’re interested. Alternately, just read any book by Eckhart Tolle.


This is, admittedly, a little harder to grasp initially.

It really requires a very open mind.

However, I’m going to make an assumption that, if you’re reading one of my articles, you’ve probably got a fairly open mind already (if not, this would be a good time to go read something else! haha).

Our “position” is about an awareness of, and our choice of place upon, the spectrum of “all possibilities” within us — in fact, not just within us but actually as our ultimate reality. From this place we can choose from a myriad of possible experiences in this moment…. including joy — even when life looks and feels horribly bleak.

This does closely relate to perspective — the whole “glass half full” thing, but goes a little deeper in the sense that it is the realisation that all states are here now.

It\’s not just a case of \”when I retrain my mind and change my diet and blaa blaa blaa, it\’ll have different physiological and psychological outcomes\”, but rather it comes from the knowing that ultimately ALL physical “reality” is vibration first and that the “highest” aspect of ourselves is not ANY of this projected “reality”.

“The Tao that can be named is not the Tao.”

This human incarnation is a playground of possibility.

From that perspective, we can give ourselves permission to be joyous NOW.

We could allow joy to be the vibrational position from which we exist in this moment.

We can tune in to joy as a frequency, just like changing the radio stations, instantly — despite EVERY other factor that may be at play in our experience at this time.

What are the “Stations” and Frequencies on this Spectrum of Emotional States?

If you’ve been hanging out in “spiritual” circles for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of (or seen) Dr. David Hawkins’ Scale of Consciousness, which shows us which emotions have a higher vibration (thus causing expansion, wellbeing and buoyancy) and which emotions will drag us down (and by what measure or level of potency).

Most people see this, like most things, as a linear pathway.

Sure, it appears simpler and much less of a mental stretch to just reach for the next emotion on the scale — the next “station” on our possible broadcast in a progressive linear sense… and I’m a really big advocate for the Abraham-Hicks recommendations of just reaching for a “better feeling thought” and then another “better feeling thought” and so on.

Sometimes that approach is absolutely the only way out of a very dark place; one step at a time.

However, it’s only our smaller selves that require things to work in this linear way.

If we’re truly open to experiencing a direct transmission from the Joy Station (frequency 540FM!), and you know how to spin the dial or press your preset buttons in that way, then that’s totally possible.

Leap-Frogging The Vibrational Scale of Emotion

It’s all about allowing and openness…

Ever had a moment when you were feeling down and your best friend shows up, distracts you with a good story or puts on an awesome tune and 10 minutes later you’re laughing or dancing or just feeling like chalk-to-cheese compared to your previous state?

Yep. That.

However, it’s not reliant on other people or circumstances. You can leap-frog states by choice, with practice.

Of course, it’s important to note that leap-frogging to a much higher state may only give temporary relief. You may have a debilitating physical illness or other circumstances that will not “magically” disappear just because you’re having a laugh and a joyful moment.

However it is still a great relief in that moment and, more importantly, it’s impact over time as a practice can be far greater than smaller steps because the vibrational shift is much more powerful and can affect things in an exponentially positive way.

Actively Generating Joy

I find that actively generating the feeling of joy is an incredible “opening” and manifestation tool and, perhaps more importantly in a way, a powerful way to quickly shift your emotional set-point at virtually any time.

Sure it often requires a little imagination, but it’s important to remember that it’s always present, just under the surface (like all possible perspectives, vibrations and emotions on this full spectrum of experience), even when it doesn’t FEEL like it at ALL.

So, because of that, we all can find ways of accessing it if we want to and are open to the possibility of it…

For me, sometimes I have been able to just sit in meditation, ask “What would joy feel like in my body right now?” and generate an almost-immediate joy response (which was MIND-BLOWING the first time it happened and I almost fell off my chair laughing as real joy bubbled up from some mysterious place in my gut and touched every corner of my being).

However, mostly I have to create pattern interrupts and be much more creative with it.

In these times, I’ve found that random flow dancing and rhythmic clapping with some wordless humming or singing and the occassional “whoop! yaaaa” (kind of “rain dance” style I guess!?) can work really well for me.

Being so random, it probably looks really silly to watch for many people (not that I’d EVER do it in front of others! haha), but that’s kind of the point…

…It makes me smile and feel alive. And some days, when my body would otherwise feel heavy and irresponsive, that’s a small miracle.

But Why Joy Specifically and Not “Love”?

Sometimes us complicated humans can get caught up in lower vibratory experiences when trying to generate and/or express some of the other states like love. There’s a lot of “stuff” intertwined in our thoughts of what that concept of love is, so that can get in the way of the experience and quickly drag us back down (or stop us from entering a pure state at all).

Joy is much less complicated. It’s much more pure in our awareness, understanding and experience of it, so whilst it may initially seem like a harder stretch to reach for joy, that makes it easier in a way to stay present to it once we get there.

So try it out!

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