9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #5

September 4th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


What happens inside of you when you get a reaction from someone that you perceive as negative? How you react will affect how you feel about yourself.  Carmen was talking to a good friend of hers and she sensed that he was irritated by something—right away she went into self-judgement–she thought “He must be upset with me–he must think that I am being very demanding” she felt awful when she thought this–but it was an automatic reaction.

It reminded her of when she was little and her Mom would be mad and irritated and took it out on her. She learned to take responsibility for her Mom’s upset—Mom must be right—I am bad.

Now Carmen is an adult and developing a Loving adult voice inside of her–once she catches this self-judgement she can move into compassion with herself and say “Honey we don’t know what is going on with our friend—it probably has nothing to do with you–we are not responsible for his feelings–let’s just check in with him and see what is going on.” She did check in with him and the irritation she thought he was in was something else that he was feeling and was not related to her at all.

So next time you perceive a negative reaction from someone–first move into compassion with yourself —reassuring yourself that you are not the cause of these feelings in the other person. Then you can move into the intent to learn with the other person and find out what is going on for them.  By doing this you  will prevent yourself from going into needless self-judgement of yourself–causing yourself unnecessary pain and eroding your self-esteem.

9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #4- You Are Much More Than You’re Conditioned to Believe

August 30th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


I was working with a client this week and I talked to her about remembering the immense strength and gifts of her Spirit. We talked about remembering that no matter what the situation is–she is capable from the perspective of  her Spirit to handle it.

I had her envision her Spirit expanding and extending beyond the bounds of her body–becoming very large. I said “This is who you really are—this large, capable, talented, wise, compassionate, creative, smart Spirit—with accumulated knowledge and wisdom that is beyond what your earthly perspective might lead you to believe.”  I said “We are much more than we have been conditioned to believe–and it is important to remember the truth of who we really are and act from that.”  She had been able to have glimpses of experiencing who she really was and now it was time for her to claim it and live this more consistently.  I suggested she use this visualization to help her connect with who she really was when she felt small and doubtful about her own capabilities.

By connecting with this she will respond to situations more creatively and authentically–feeling like she is an empowered leader of her life than a helpless victim of what is happening around her.

Claim who you really are and take action from your expanded Spirit— this is who you really are!

9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #3- When You Really Get How Wonderful You Are, Your Life Improves

August 28th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

I think the issue of low self-esteem is HUGE for people. Everyone I work with needs to do a lot of work around this issue.  The good news is that when you really get how wonderful you truly are—your whole life improves— because self-esteem affects everything–it affects how much good you allow into your life.  The phrase “How good do you allow your life to get?” is more of a function of a belief that you really deserve a wonderful life.  The good that is wanting to come into your life can only flow to the extent you allow it to flow in.   The better you feel about yourself–the more good you will allow into you life.

The interesting thing with Self-Esteem is that the wounded part of us—the part of us that absorbed negative messages and conditioning as a child is very devoted to the status quo.  This means that we have gotten used to the negative messages and the low self-esteem–this can feel familiar to us.  Moving into the truth—which is that we are an amazing, magnificent person with tremendous worth and potential—stretches us out of our comfort zone.  Without even being aware of it–we can keep ourselves locked into low self-esteem by the choices we make that are in alignment with this low-self-esteem.  An example of this I see over and over is when people go to make the decision to attend a Workshop.  They have the initial excitement and they want to attend—then the old conditioning can take over and come up with a million and one reasons why they shouldn’t attend.  It is the fear of the conditioned self—of moving out of what is familiar into the territory that is new—it is the unknown.  This conditioned self is very compelling and many people listen to it—and they continue to stay stuck—not even knowing it was there own choice that is keeping them there.

One of my “I am Fabulous ” Workshops, there was a woman who said she wanted to attend—a day later she called and said she had a real busy week and would be too tired to attend.  I saw that this was her conditioned self and encouraged her to attend anyway—stating that the Workshop would be energizing for her.  She attended and had a huge breakthrough that completely changed her life—she has been the happiest and most peaceful she had ever been since the Workshop.  She was so close to not coming.  She would have missed out on the very thing she needed to grow to the next level.

So watch yourself when you make decisions–make sure that you are making decisions that are what you really want—that are moving you forward—rather that decisions from your conditioned self that are going to keep you stuck in old patterns.

Make decisions that are in alignment with your true priorities.  Back what you want with positive action.


9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #2- Self Talk

August 23rd, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


What is your self-talk like today? If you are feeling happy and peaceful your self-talk is probably positive and supportive.  If you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, guilty etc. etc. your self-talk is probably filled with self-judgement.

Many people routinely engage in self-judgement and aren’t really aware that they are doing it. It can be so automatic and regular that it is invisible.

The best way to start to tune into your self-talk is to monitor your feelings. Your feelings will give you pretty accurate feedback if you are being loving or unloving with your self-talk.  If your feeling good your self-talk is positive and on track– if you are feeling bad it is an indicator that there is some negative self-talk happening inside.

See if you can move into curiosity with your feelings—let’s say that you are feeling anxious—ask the anxious part of you–“Why are you so anxious?” —the anxious part of you may reply “I’m feeling so anxious because you are telling me that I made a stupid comment in the meeting today.”  Now that you are conscious of what is happening you can move into dealing with this self-judgement.

You can move into a Loving adult space with yourself and talk to the part of you that is self-judging and say “I’m sorry that I said that you made a stupid comment—you actually added a lot to the meeting—you did just fine with the comment you made—you have a lot of good ideas and I am glad we shared them.”  This statement is more supportive on the inner level and will create a sense of peace and security—in turn opening you up to more creative ideas.  The self-judgement stifles creativity and creates immobilization.

Love yourself today by using loving, supportive self-talk.





9 Self-Esteem Exercises – #1 Tune into your Feelings and Needs

August 21st, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


One of the exercises to build self-esteem and self-worth is to stay in tune moment by moment with what you need to do to be loving with yourself.  Most people have their antenna turned to the outer world–scanning what other people are doing–how they are reacting and responding to what they are doing.

They then make decisions based on this outer information--making choices to try to please the people around them rather than tuning into what they really want to do.


When I work with clients I suggest that they shift this antenna away from the outer world and inward to tune into their own feelings and needs. Once they tune into their own feelings and needs they can then ask themselves “What is the loving action I need to do for myself right now?”  Asking this question brings in information about what what be most loving in that moment.

Once the client gets this information the next step is to take action on it.  For example if they asked what was most loving for themselves right now and what popped into their mind was to rest—then they would take some time and rest.  If for some reason they couldn’t rest in that moment they would make arrangements to rest at some point during the day.

The consequence of doing this throughout the day is that you would be attending to yourself at a very deep level, moment by moment. This kind of attentiveness to yourself creates a sense of being loved by YOU.

We love ourselves by being loving to ourselves.  We show our love by our attentiveness and responsiveness to our own needs.  We are the only one who can do this for ourselves—because we are living in our own bodies 24/7.

So for the rest of the day experiment with this–continue to keep your attention inside of you and ask “What is the loving action that I need to do for myself right now?” –then take action on what the answer is–and watch how great you will feel. You will feel very loved and valued because you will be loving YOU!



Do What You Love

August 14th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

This is a picture of my dog Niyo this past summer at my family’s cottage.  He is looking up at me and barking because he wants me to throw this thing called a flying squirrel (it is like a canvas frisbee) into the lake so he can swim out and get it.  He LOVES doing this and could do it until my arm fell off from throwing it!

Dogs are good teachers for us because they gravitate towards what is fun and then do it till their hearts content (or until their owners arm falls off:)  It is so simple for them to follow what they love.  We too did this when we were children.

I saw a perfect example of this when I was visiting Duke Botanical Gardens in North Carolina.  I was sitting on a hill watching some kids running around and playing at the bottom of the hill.   They were having so much fun and I had fun just watching them.

Nearby where I was sitting there was a group of teachers and kids sitting on the grass–it was fairly quiet and the kids looked quite bored. I could see the kids looking longingly at the kids playing at the bottom of the hill.

One of the kids couldn’t stand it anymore and started slinking away from their group to move towards the playing kids.  As he moved away one of the teachers started calling his name “Jimmy, you get back to the group.”  Jimmy conveniently didn’t hear the teacher and kept moving towards the playing kids.  The teacher yelled louder “Jimmy, get back here now!”  Just as she said that he broke away and began running towards the kids.

Inside I was saying “Go Jimmy Go!”

The teacher didn’t realize that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was just going to where the fun was.  Kids are innately drawn to what is  fun,  to what brings them Joy.  But you can see the dynamic of him being punished for following this and will have an impact on him as he grows up.

Instead of following what he loves he will instead try to please those around him with what he thinks they want him to do.  Can you see how people can get sidetracked from this innate mechanism of following what you love?  It could be messages from parents or teachers that communicate that following what you love takes you away from what they think you are supposed to be doing.

Notice if this is a dynamic inside of you.  You may have had so many years of not following what you love that you forgot what those things even are.  Or you know what you love but you don’t give yourself permission to do these things more often.

See if you can reconnect with what you love to do give yourself permission (like Niyo does) to do these things to your hearts content!  What do you love to do?  I would love to hear from you!  I love to DANCE, SING, LAUGH, WRITE, CUDDLE….




Speak Your Mind….Even if Your Voice Shakes

August 9th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta


“Speak your mind…even if your voice shakes”  

~Maggie Kuhn, member of the Gray Panthers–social activist group advocating for justice and fairness for older Americans.

I was thinking back to the first time I attended Toastmasters. 

For those of you who don’t know– Toastmasters is an organization designed to give people an opportunity to speak in front of a group and get constructive feedback.  Some people attend for personal growth–and some attend to help develop their speaking skills for their profession.  I had been wanting to attend Toastmasters for about a year and I finally put it in my schedule and attended.

I was so inspired by everyone who gave a speech!  Despite nervousness and shaky voices they were doing it—moving beyond their fears into freedom.  It was so moving for me.  One of the biggest fears for most people is public speaking and here was a whole group of people actively moving through this fear. 

I thought since it was my first meeting that I would be off the hook from speaking—not so—just as my mind was starting to drift off I heard my name.  My friend Nancy who was in charge of the table top speeches–these are 1-2 minute speeches that are impromptu speeches on a random topic–decided to call on me to do one of the speeches. 

For me public speaking creates some anxiety in me but more than anything I get excited and invigorated by speaking.  So I left the meeting flying high because of a few things—I was inspired by the others who were moving through their fears, I was excited that I finally attended and I’m glad I got my feet wet by getting to speak! 

The more you face your fears and do it anyway, you will move into freedom in your life.  Don’t let your fears hold you back any longer.  Do it even if your voice shakes!

What are you afraid of?  What can you do to face this fear rather than avoiding it?  Make a plan to do it this week!



Jump Start Your Dreams

August 2nd, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

“Nothing happens unless we first dream.”  ~  Carl Sandburg

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”   ~ Christopher Reeve

Are you pursuing a dream that you are passionate about?  Do you have a dream that you have sat on for years and have not taken action on it?   Do you even know what your dreams are?

Dreams are actually part of our guidance system in life.  They give us clues and a road map for what roads we should be traveling.    So if you feel unclear or confused about your dreams you have lost touch with your “dreaming” self.  Your dreaming self is that part of you that is connected with all of the possibilities in life.  It is the part of you that truly believes in the magic and joy of living.

It is the part of you that will guide you to the sweetest happiness and fulfillment you could ever imagine.  So often people get disconnected from their dreaming self at a very young age by parents who stopped connecting with their own dreaming selves.

When I work with clients, part of the healing process is to re- connect with their dreaming self.  The part of them that has expansive dreams.  Very often they believe this part of them is not even there anymore -that it is lost and they never can retrieve this part of them.  The good news is that this part of them never goes away-it is just buried under the limiting beliefs of their conditioning and fears.  It may take a bit of time, but they can re-connect with this dreaming part of themselves and then start to listen to this voice.

You may be in that same position of being disconnected from your dreaming self too.  If that is the case I will give you some tips to help you make this connection.  Others of you may have some clarity about your dreams, but you have not taken action to pursue your dreams-I will address how to get beyond this too.

Tips to Reconnect with your Dreams

  • Let Go of Your Critical Thinking- To hear the voice of your dreams you first must quiet the critical voice inside.  If you think of what it is like to share a dream with a friend and they shoot it down with criticism.  How likely are you going to share your dreams with that person again?  Not very likely.  It is the same way with your internal voice of criticism.  If you bring a dream into your own mind and right away you find ways it won’t work or judge it as a stupid idea-the voice of your dreaming self will grow silent and pretty soon you have stopped dreaming.  Open up to being loving and supportive of your dreams.  This will create a safe environment for your dreams to come forward and be voiced inside of you.
  •  Make a list of 100 things you would like to Do, Be or Have.  This may be a bit of a challenge to start this, but as you work on this list you will be taking the heavy lid off your dreaming self and it will begin to speak to you—and you will be able to add things to the list.  By starting the list you are priming the pump for more ideas to come through.  Here are some examples of things you may have on your list: travel to Hawaii, learn to salsa dance, learn to paint in watercolors, go on a weekend camping trip alone, take a family trip to the Grand Canyon, start your own business, be more adventurous etc.
  • Notice When You Like What Someone Else is Doing- Sometimes our dreams are brought forward because we see someone else living them.  This can sometimes come out in a statement like “Oh, I wish I could do that”.  For example if you have a friend who travels a lot and you love to hear the stories of her adventures-this may be a dream of yours that you should take action on. Pay attention to when you feel this way -this can give you clues to your own dreams.  What do you see other people doing that you would LOVE to do?
  • Forget about the “How” When You Are Dreaming- You may disregard your dream because you can’t see how this dream could ever happen.  You may say “I could never quit my job and do this thing I love-I can’t see how it can happen.”  The most important thing is to identify the dream and decide if this is the dream you want to pursue.  I have seen over and over that once people decide and commit—and move forward in action towards their dreams-the pieces of the puzzle of the “How” fall into place.  You will not experience this if you hang back and try to figure it out in your head “how” to do it before you will decide if you will do it.  The ideas, inspiration and the “how” come to you after you decide and commit.
  • Go somewhere Special and Inspirational to Contemplate Your Dreams- Take time from your busy schedule to reflect on your dreams.  Sometimes people are so busy with their day to day lives that they don’t have the time to reflect on their lives.  You need time and space to drop down into your feeling self-that is where the dreaming part of you lives.  Find a café or other inspirational place to go and reflect. Write at the topic of the page “If I could do anything I would……..”-and just let your mind drift and write down the ideas that come to you.  And remember like I mentioned above to quiet your critical voice while you are doing this.
  • Decide You Will Love Yourself Enough to Honor Your Dreams- It is an act of self- love to listen to the voice of your dreams and to pursue these special dreams.  Just like you want the people in your own life that you love so dearly to be happy and to pursue their dreams-love yourself in that same way and listen to your own dreams.  The level of happiness you feel in your life is directly related to how well you are listening to your dreaming self-and taking these dreams seriously.
  • If You Are Not Pursuing Your Dreams or are Confused about Your Dreams-What Are You Afraid Of?- If you have been stalled on pursuing your dream,  know that there are some fears that are holding you back-some of these are conscious and some of these are unconscious.  If they are conscious fears that you are aware of-write them down.  Look at what you wrote from the highest part of you-the part of you filled with faith and trust.   From this perspective write a response back to this fear.                                                                                                     An example of a fear could be “I could never make money at doing a job that I love-I have to just stay stuck where I am at-besides things are so unstable with the economy right now I can’t take any risks.”  Your answer back could be “Yes you can make money at doing a job you love-it just takes time, effort and persistence.  Trust that as we pursue what we love we will be supported on every level.  We can take steps now to move in that direction and trust that the right opportunity will open up for us.  We actually will be in a better position with the economy if we move in a direction of doing what we love rather than staying stuck out of fear.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Some of your fears may be more unconscious.  To address these unconscious fears ask yourself on a piece of paper.  “You aren’t taking any steps towards your dreams-why are you so afraid?”  Close your eyes and just listen in to what thoughts pop into your head-or the feeling you feel in your body.  Write the response down and do the same thing as I listed above-which is to right a response to this fear from the highest part of you.
  • Get Support- Out of everything I have listed above this is the most important tip of all.  Get support from believe who believe in you and the beauty of your own dreams.  In my last Life Purpose Mentoring Group some of the people had these dreams in their hearts for years but never took action to pursue them.  With the support of the program they made more progress in 3 months than they did in 10 years of sitting on their dream.  Others were able to step out of the confusion of going around and around again about trying to figure out their Life Purpose and were finally able to get the clarity they needed to move forward.  It was amazing-it was like seeing a group of people become alive again after years of holding themselves back and not fully living.  The power of positive, inspirational support is a key element in moving beyond your fears into the joy of living your dreams.


Begin today to re-connect with your dreaming self and listen to its beautiful wisdom.  Allow this wisdom to guide you to a life that is filled with joy and possibility!


What is a Vision Board?

July 26th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

A very powerful way to manifest your dreams is to create a Vision Board.  A Vision Board contains images and phrases that illustrate the dreams you are manifesting.  You put it up in your home or office as a constant reminder of the things you are wanting to draw into your life. The above picture is an example of a Vision Board.  You can have pictures randomly on the Board —or you can section off the areas of your life into 4 quadrants–

1. Love and Relationships

2. Health and Fitness

3. Career and Money

4. Spiritual and Emotional Life—and put pictures, phrases, colors that represent your dreams in this area of your life.

I suggest to all of my clients that they create a Vision Board every year and update it as they begin manifesting what they have posted on it.

Living With Joy

January 26th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta

What brings you joy?

Fills your heart?

Makes your spirit sing?

Do you know people who seem to be naturally joyful and wonder what their secret is?  I believe that the feeling of joy can be cultivated, nurtured and expanded no matter what your starting point is.  As a psychotherapist I have had a special interest in studying the blossoming field of Joy.

There is an area of study in psychology called positive psychology which explores all of the factors that lead to the positive emotional states like joy, contentment, fulfillment etc.  Paul Pearsall, Ph.D, author of Super Joy (Don’t you just love the title—not just “Joy” but “Super Joy”!) refers to himself as a Joyologist.  As soon as I read that I thought, “What a great idea—I’m going to be a joyologist too.”  Feel free to adopt this title for yourself—no degree required– just a deep desire to learn what needs to happen to bring yourself more into this wondrous state in your day to day life.

So that is what I have been doing both personally and professionally—learning what brings people into that state of joy.  This past spring I started a Joy group with clients who had an interest in learning with others how to bring more joy into their lives (all fellow joyologists!).  I jokingly asked clients “I’m thinking of doing a Fear group or a Joy group—which would you like to join?

In my practice I have always been committed to assisting clients to live more freely and authentically.  I use breathwork and a psychospiritual process called Inner Bonding to help clients connect more fully with their bodies and by doing this they connect with their authentic feelings.

Once feelings that have been held in the body are expressed and released a feeling of lightness follows.  When these denser emotions are freed the natural upwelling of peace and joy surfaces.  What I hoped would happen for myself and my clients was that this state of peace and joy would just continue to grow until that was the natural state of being in the world.  In many cases, myself included, maintaining this state consistently was just not happening.

That is when I began my exploring, asking the questions “What is happening here? Why is this feeling so difficult to consistently maintain?”  What I found was that most people lived in a state of suppression of their core essence—the part of us that is in a state of joy.

There also seemed to be an addiction—a deep attachment to feelings of anxiety, fear and depression.  I found that people loved that state of joy and peace but they didn’t have the tools or support to maintain these feelings.  They had much more practice and support in being able to maintain their previous state of anxiety, depression and suppression.  I had clients report that if they felt too joyful it scared them because they weren’t used to the feeling.  They would often hear parental messages like “Don’t get so excited”,   “Be quiet”  “Don’t be so full of yourself”.  Another common message was “I don’t deserve to feel this good.”

Some clients reported that when they were feeling joyful friends and family who were in a less joyful state didn’t know how to react to them, or even worse they criticized them.  Clients became aware of their own choices that would bring them from that state of joy back into anxiety or depression.  There were fears about what would happen to current relationships if they maintained this state of joy and connection to their authentic self.

I wanted myself and my clients to be able to move more and more into that state of joy.  What I found in my own personal process as well as in my work with clients were the following keys to living with more Joy.

  1. A deep intention and commitment to being in a joyful state. This is the most important key to Joy.  Our energy follows our intention.  This is a moment-by- moment choice.  What within me needs to shift in order to open up to the joy of this moment?  What are your beliefs about joy?  Do you think it’s something that just happens to you or something you can actively cultivate and move more into in your life?  Your beliefs shape your experiences.  Notice how you react to joyful people—are you drawn to them or do you make judgments about them (i.e. they are fake, flaky, flighty, strange)?
  2. Tools.  Learning specific exercises and activities that helped shift them into a state of joy.  Clients were able to identify things they could do to move them into a more joyful state.  For each person this was different.  Some would move into expressing gratitude or appreciation as a way of shifting into joy.  For some a favorite activity would be their path to shifting.  Others would have a favorite memory of a joyful time that would help them recapture those feelings.
  3. Awareness of negative programming/messages/false beliefs that did not support Joy.  When clients embraced the intention of being more in a state of Joy a lot of the old messages that blocked Joy would come to the surface.  Once these messages were at the surface they could be healed and released.  The feelings also held in the body that were associated with these beliefs/experiences also needed to be released so the body was free to fully embody the Joy.  Having a breathwork session or other emotional process work to move this energy through was essential.  Trying to move into Joy without releasing held in anger, fear, grief is like trying to get a hot air balloon loaded with rocks off of the ground—you just don’t get very far.                                                                                               What one needs to be mindful of in doing emotional process work is not to get stuck in processing old feelings over and over again.  This can be an unconscious way to feel safe—exploring the feelings of the past rather than taking the loving actions to live fully in the present.  Pay attention.  I hear from a lot of people lately who do a lot of personal growth work—“I’m sick of attending another workshop, reading another book—I just want to live”.  This is their authentic self crying out to just be, express, love —to be in Joy.  So releasing the past being mindful if it is bringing you more fully into the present.
  4. Support. Connection with others who have the same intention to bring more joy into their lives.  This is very powerful.  I have always been such a believer in the transformative power of groups.  Anytime I want to make a change in my life I look for a group of like minded people who can support my efforts.  Being a part of a supportive group can also meet our deepest needs for a sense of belonging and connection, as well as provide wonderful opportunities for laughter and play.  Unless you already have a group of joyful people around you—a joy group would do wonders for supporting you on your path of Joy.
  5. Being in the Present Moment opens us up to Joy. There is so much Joy in each moment if we fully are present to it.  Having the mind in the past and future takes away from the Joy and peace of the present.
  6. Following Dreams and Passions.What are your deepest dreams and passions?  Taking loving action to manifest these dreams can open you up to tremendous energy and joy.  A lot of the depression people experience is from the suppression of their authentic self who wants to just express itself fully in the world.  Many of our dreams are a way to express the gifts we are here to share.  What can be important is to pursue the dreams without concern for the outcome.  An example is someone who has a dream of singing.  If you are concerned about others giving you approval for how great of a singer you are, the creative process will be tense and not very joyful.  If your intention is just to express yourself fully and to enjoy yourself as you are singing your experience will be totally different.  The intention we have as we pursue our dreams can either make the experience a fun adventure or one fraught with tension and anxiety.
  7. Lifestyle Changes. What changes do you need to make in your life to open you up to more Joy?  For many people slowing down and not being as busy is essential to opening up to Joy.  A common issue that I work with when clients start working with me is creating balance in their life.  Many are exhausted and the only time they have to themselves is the time during our sessions.  It is hard to be in a state of Joy if we are rushing around and feeling overwhelmed with day to day life.  Letting go of connections and activities that are draining in order to make space can be very helpful.  A good way to do this is to let your body decide.  Think of an activity that you have on your schedule next week—close your eyes and breathe—when you think of participating in the activity does the energy lift in your body and you feel good/excited or does your energy drop?  The body never lies.  Our mind may give all the reasons why we should do this or be with this person but our body will always tell the truth.  If it is an activity that you must be a part of you can ask your body (authentic self), “What can I do to make this experience more enjoyable for myself?”   Just breathe and listen to the response you get back.  Even if you love all of the activities in your life, too many can take away the joy of each activity.  We need time to savor activities and the people who are in our life.  Look to see if you are on overload and make the necessary changes.  Decluttering the space around you can free up time and space.  Again you can let your body decide when getting rid of things.  Does your energy lift and feel good when you look at the object you are trying to decide on.  Ideally everything that surrounds you should be uplifting and pleasing to you.  If an object is neutral or brings your energy down, let it go so someone who would truly value it.
  8. Movement/Sound/Breath-Being fully in our body allows us to feel joy more completely. Do you know what the sensation of Joy feels like in your body?   For some it can be a fluttering sensation in their hearts or a lightness throughout their body. Some people have not felt joy in so long they forgot what it feels like.  Movement can bring us more fully in the body.  What ways do you move that bring you Joy? —dancing, biking, walking, yoga,running,skipping.  Many of my clients love to dance, feeling very joyful and alive as they move.  I give assignments to clients to have frequent dance sessions throughout the day—the more stressful the day the more dancing.  Dancing helps to move energy through the body.  Our bodies are meant to move and we tend to live lifestyles that are very movement restricted.  I joked with a client yesterday that wouldn’t it be nice if the clinic she worked for had noon hour dance sessions for the clients and the staff!!  What sounds bring you Joy?  Is it listening to birds or beautiful music?  Do you find joy in singing?  I find most people love to sing yet don’t allow themselves to express this very often.  Next time you are in the car just start belting out songs—songs that you know or just make them up.  Don’t deprive yourself of this joy any longer.  Children who are naturally in that state of Joy move and make sound all of the time—just notice this the next time you are around children.  Full connected breathing helps us to be more fully in our bodies.  How do you breathe throughout the day?  Some people notice that they hold their breath throughout the day.  When you hold your breath you are cutting off oxygen and energy to the body, decreasing your capacity to feel joy.  Breathing fully is opening up more fully to being alive—it is like saying a big YES to life.

You may have noticed some things from the list that resonate with you and can assist you in moving more into Joy.  There may be things you could do that weren’t listed.  Take a moment right now and just close your eyes and breathe into your body asking the question “What do I need to change for me to bring more joy into my life?” just let go and see what comes into your mind.

Next ask your body again “What could I do every day that would bring more joy into my day?”  breathe and relax and let the answer float into your mind.  Now make a plan to implement this in your life possibly sharing this with a close friend or loved one.

You can find someone to be your joy buddy—someone to explore with and support you.  I have a friend who is also a psychotherapist turned joyologist who is my joy sister.  I have another friend who started a clown troupe years ago called “The Angels of Joy”.  Taking these loving actions to bring more joy into your life can be a fun and playful adventure.

I wish you all of the joy your heart desires.


Hi, I'm Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC a Holistic Psychotherapist in private practice. I specialize in helping people connect with their Authentic selves--and from this create a life that is in alignment with their Life Purpose and filled with Joy. I offer transformational individual counseling, presentations, groups and Workshops. You can get my Free Workbook "What Do You REALLY Want: Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Life" here or contact me at 877-346-1167.
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