Gladdening our heart increases our resilience…

Breathing in the good – Gladdening our heart…Building our resilience…
Joy quote
I’m currently doing Brene Brown’s Art Journalling course on the Gifts of Imperfection! (
I totally recommend it – it’s fun and gets the creative juices flowing and covers topics such as courage, joy & gratitude & creativity! All things I need more of in my life!
Brene talks about something called ‘foreboding joy’ – and I love the concept! It is where feeling joy & gratitude makes us feel sooo vulnerable that we deflect it, move on or even go straight to a place of fear where we worry about what we will lose.
She shares as an example going in to say goodnight to her daughter and melting with love – then immediately being fearful that something bad might happen to her daughter – almost as a protective instinct!
This totally makes sense to me – to keep ourselves safe we are on the look out for all possible and perceived dangers – AND we hardly allow ourselves to feel, to breathe in joy! No wonder so many of us are feeling stressed and burnt out.
So this past week I’ve been noticing those beautiful joyful moments – that may be really fleeting – singing loudly in the car with my daughter, seeing a turtle while stand up paddle boarding, laughing with the kids, seeing a community of people working together and deliberately pausing and breathing it in and sitting with it!
The more I practice mindfulness the more I realise we have a choice as to where to focus our thoughts and mind…and the more I focus on loving kindness and gratitude and joy the better I feel…and the more resilient I am.
If overcome with vulnerability then Brene recommends saying out loud I’m feeling vulnerable and I’m grateful for…so we still acknowledge the moment!
Tara Brach has a great meditation on her website re: gladdening the heart and it’s about deliberately recalling activities you love to do and happy memories – the art journalling activities are great for that! And in the brain research now they know that dwelling on happy memories releases a hit of the feel good dopamine…so it’s lovely to stop and breathe in a good moment and store it as a happy memory to turn to for a mood boost when you need it!
So let me know how you gladden your heart this week – what golden moments, no matter how small or fleeting did you breathe in to your heart? 🙂 
My new Resilient Families Thriving Kids Online Coaching Course starts in August.  You can sign up here: 
Would love to have you share the journey with us! Cheers, Sara x

Mindful Gratitude #2

Joy quote

‘Joy & Gratitude can be very vulnerable & intense experiences.  We are an anxious people and many of us have very little tolerance for vulnerability.  Our anxiety & fear can manifest as scarcity.  We think to ourselves:

  • I’m not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won’t last
  • Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster’

Brene Brown The Gifts Of Imperfection, p77-85

Woah,  this really resonated with me when I read it this weekend!  Following on from my last post re: gratitude, I’ve been actively practicing gratitude for a few years now – yet I can totally relate to the fear and anxiety as Brene writes above.

Brene writes that as a Mum, the fear of something terrible happening to her children prevented her from fully embracing joy and gratitude.  Have you ever had that where you are feeling joy watching your kids and you feel so grateful and then you feel fear – ‘this is too good to be true, how would I cope if something happened to them’ and then you spiral away from joy and gratitude to fear and anxiety?  I certainly have!

Brene writes ‘Until we can tolerate vulnerability and transform it into gratitude, intense feelings of love will often bring up the fear of loss’.  

‘We’re afraid to lose what we love most and we hate that there are no guarantees’. 

‘We’re wrong.  There is one guarantee: If we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times’.

She goes on to share the idea that if we let go of the concept of ‘scarcity’ – e.g. not enough sleep, not good enough Mum, not enough money, not enough time and instead discover the mindset of sufficiency – – enough sleep, enough love, good enough Mum, good enough moment, enough time, we can see that ‘Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are’ (Marianne Williamson).

In Brene’s interviews with people who had experienced extreme trauma she reported ‘the memories that they held most sacred was the ordinary, everyday moments….their most precious memories were forged from a collection of ordinary moments and their hope for others is that they would stop long enough to be grateful for those moments and the joy they bring’.

It definitely gives you pause for thought….this moment right now is good, and the next moment, and the next!  If we broke our days down to moments – there are 1000’s of ordinary moments that are GREAT, and if we paused, possibly joyful and something to be grateful for! – yet we can often allow one not great incident to colour our day.

So be conscious today – when are you able to be thankful for an ordinary moment and let the joy bubble up and be grateful for it (e.g. holding your child’s hand, hugging them goodbye, sharing a laugh) – and when do you feel vulnerable and the fear kicks in?  Brene’s strategy in the vulnerable moments that I love and am now going to use is to say to yourself or out loud ‘I feel vulnerable and I’m grateful for….’

What are you feeling grateful for right now? What’s your favourite daily ordinary moment that you can pause a little longer in and relish a little more?