How to Escape the Stress of the World and Find Your Joy!

How to Escape the Stress of the World and Find Your Joy!

This past weekend I took in our annual Film Festival here in Crested Butte. It’s an incredible event. I highly recommend film festivals because you see films on important and inspiring topics most of which never make the commercial theaters. There’s been so much violence and tragedy happening with what seems like increasing speed and intensity all over the world that you can imagine some of this year’s films were ripe with aggression and cruelty, yet some of the stories moved me to tears of joy.


I literally experienced every emotion over and over again for 3 days. I was exposed to incredible inspiration and I was moved to action to continue healing our world one person at a time – starting with myself. That’s how it works!

These films really got me thinking about you. I know you want to know how to bring peace to the world.

You tell me all the time that life is full of stress and challenge and you don’t know how to get your head above water. You want to lose weight and have more energy and be healthier and feel happier.

You sabotage yourself by eating things you know don’t do you any good. You want JOY!

I thought about you a lot this weekend because there is a connection between your behavior, and habits and the hostility we see in the world. It’s the same action (way different scenarios) for the same reasons.

[Tweet “The most IMPACT creating action you can take to change the world is to start with yourself.”]

Heal yourself first
Love yourself first
Bring joy to yourself first

If every one of us simply did that . . . we’d stop bearing witness to the tragedies that are occurring around the world with what seems like increasing speed and intensity. THAT IS TRUTH!!

What often happens as you go about your day to day is that circumstances occur that feel like they throw you off your game. Here’s something really important to realize:

It is NOT the circumstances in life that create your results . . . it’s what you THINK about those circumstances. Your joy is being sabotaged by what the mind THINKS life circumstances MEAN.

Change your thoughts and it changes how you feel.
Change how you feel and that changes your behavior.
Change your behavior and that changes your outcome.
Change the meaning of life’s events and it changes your life’s experience!

Only when you do this can you begin to hear INTUITION beyond the thoughts.

There were films in this festival about war, beheading, suicide bombers, affairs and even a story about a woman who found more comfort and connection with a wild wolf than she did with her own sister.

The driving force behind ALL of that human behavior is the same thing that drives you to eat the midnight ice cream or have the 3rd glass of wine in the evening.


Here’s what happens:

A life circumstance arises that YOUR MIND calls “BAD”.

Your destructive behavior is an attempt to AVOID and NUMB that feeling.

You spend your life running around looking for the perfect food, outfit, partner, job, home or activity that will block out the bad feelings and comfort you. It’s an endless game because LIFE HAPPENS!

Wouldn’t it make more sense to address the problem at the core by changing what you think about the circumstance in the first place?

Try it! Next time something “bad” happens . . . RENAME it! Don’t call it a failure or a tragedy or a disaster.

Give it a new name (new thought) that creates a more joyful feeling, that in turn inspires you to take loving action, that creates a more joyful result.

Something else that really struck me about this numbing behavior is that I see a pattern that really explains why we do the things we do as humans.

  1. You start out using what I call “substitutes” (the food, drugs, alcohol, reckless behavior) to block out or numb the feelings associated with circumstances your mind calls UNACCEPTABLE.
    IT works . . . you actually become NUMB and devoid of feelings. (especially if you turn to an anti-depressant)
  2. Then I’ve seen something else happen . . . you actually begin destructive behavior to TRY TO FEEL AGAIN.
    What I mean by that is you might overeat the ice cream and pizza at first because you are comforting yourself to avoid bad feelings. Then eventually when you are so numb you don’t feel ANYTHING, you overeat the ice cream and pizza to give you pleasure and FEEL something again.

Talk about a no win situation!

You’ve done that. A million times. Try something new . . . go back to what the mind is believing about life’s ups and downs (which are perfectly natural) and CHOOSE a new thought.

I mentioned my prayer. I’ll share one line from my prayer:

“Higher Power, please help me choose greater awareness as opposed to an escape from experience”

Here’s a thought from Andrew Weil:

“Just as muscles become stronger and bigger when they work against resistance, so our minds and spirits enlarge by meeting the difficulties life presents.”


PS – My top film choices are Sonita – an inspiring story of an Afghan girl living in Iran who has a dream to be a rapper versus be sold off to marriage. If SHE can change her thoughts . . . so can you.

Wild – not the Reese Witherspoon one . . . the girl and the wolf.

Rated – what if people had rating stars above their heads of the review of the energy they put out in the world?

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