100 Tiny Pulses: Build Strength and Fuel Your Joy


in Happiness,Personal Growth

How joyful do you feel? Right now? In general?

This question has been weighing on my mind. In the past week, I’ve had conversations with clients and colleagues who felt overwhelmed, dissatisfied, frightened, angry, hurt, and frustrated for one reason or another.

Listening to the stories being shared, I marveled at how easy it is, for all of us, to remain mired in the joyless even when another option exists – the path of joy. Choosing the path of joy might not change the circumstances but it certainly helps shift perspectives, attitudes, and attachments.

Why not choose the path of joy?

Because it’s not easy.

We tend to stay in the joyless because we don’t know or have lost touch with what joy is. And, because we don’t know, we can hardly choose it. Instead, we remain with what is comfortable, known, and easy to access – overwhelm, dissatisfaction, anger, hurt, frustration.

We don’t make it a priority to cultivate joy.

I carried this insight with me to my latest love, the Pilates mat. I discovered Pilates a few weeks ago and fell in love with the fluidity of movement and the awareness it brings to each muscle in my body. When I leave a session, I am filled with wonder and joy. Joy in being alive. Joy in feeling strong.

One sequence of movements in Pilates that I find particularly fascinating is called “the 100.” It focuses on strengthening the body’s core by doing 100 barely-perceptible crunches.

Tiny pulses that build strength one micro-movement at a time.

Joy is like that too. It’s not one big “crunch” it is a series of small actions and movements.

The path of joy is filled with tiny pulses that when added together, form a strong, healthy internal core – one of connection, deep knowing, gratitude, generosity, pleasure, happiness, and contentment.

Choosing  joy is a relatively simple affair when put in terms of tiny pulses, or the micro-movements that fill your internal reserves and expand your outlook. Things like:

  • Forgiving someone at work who makes you crazy.
  • Taking a nap instead of sweeping the kitchen floor.
  • Treating yourself to pink primroses just because.
  • Finally going to the indoor rock climbing center and signing up for one session.
  • Sending a shot of love and patience to the young mother who looks like she’s on her last nerve.
  • Taking ten minutes to savor your morning coffee and watch the sun greet the sky.
  • Pinning your grandmother’s favorite brooch to the belt loop of your jeans so it will be noticed and enjoyed.
  • Sowing seeds in the garden and watching for the first green shoots to arrive.
  • Splurging on a small delicacy that you’ve read about but never tried – caviar, Turkish coffee, a specialty cheese.

All of these tiny pulses add up to a joyful you.

They are moments that can be re-called when times are tough, anticipated when things seem bleak, and noticed in place of less joyful alternatives. They make you strong and allow you to shift your perspective easily because you know you can choose joy when you want to.

What would happen if you incorporated 100 tiny pulses of joy into your life?

One pulse a day for 100 days.

Two pulses a day for 50 days.

Three pulses a day for 33 days.

Four pulses a day for 25 days.

Five pulses a day for 20 days.

Ten pulses a day for 10 days.

It might be just the work-out you’ve been looking for.


Helping people discover their joy points is one of my favorite things to do. Consider working with me in a way that won’t seem like work at all. Click here to find out more.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita@thissortaoldlife.com February 24, 2012 at

Somehow your posts always speak to something on my mind right when I read them. Have been writing the past few days about what happened when I realized all the joy had gone out of my life. I love the idea of infusing our day with tiny shots of joy–the real thing, not the fake things that pass for joy. Giving ourselves the gifts of rest, attention, time, and companionship (rather than accumulating things, ingesting chemicals, and tuning out with numbing, compulsive entertainment).
Rita@thissortaoldlife.com recently posted..Happy Birthday!The best birthday present we can give our kids


Andrea Olson February 25, 2012 at

Dearest Rita…I’m glad these words found you. Little pulses make a huge difference – especially when we honor and savor them. May you find many, many pulses of joy.


Sandi Amorim February 24, 2012 at

The timing of this couldn’t be more perfect! I know joy ‘should be’ effortless while vacationing in paradise, but even here it’s possible to have a bad day.

Since we still have 5 days left, I’m going to consciously count me joy pulses. Like I said, perfect timing because I needed a new game to play! All this lounging around in the sun can’t be good for me ;-)
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Misadventures on the Road to Hana


Andrea Olson February 25, 2012 at

The funny thing about vacations is they often highlight where joy is lacking because we layer these huge expectations onto one or two little weeks. Pulse away, sister, and go with joy. :)


Jackie Walker February 25, 2012 at

Tiny wee pulses, I love that concept, it’s achievable, it’s not too out there and it means that as the muscle strengthens, then the pulses can deepen without having a specific target in mind, simply joy in the moment, every moment.
Jackie Walker recently posted..Reason to Love Yourself #6 – It gives you Freedom


Andrea Olson February 25, 2012 at

Little movements that make a big difference. We can all do something small, right? And small things add up. Thanks, Jackie!


Kathy from Bliss Habits February 25, 2012 at

I Love this!! I will be sharing far and wide and will bring it back during my next JOY week over on Bliss Habits. As Jackie said, it’s achievable I know my audience will enjoy and agree!!
Kathy from Bliss Habits recently posted..Speaking of Passion – What really fires you up?


Andrea Olson February 25, 2012 at

Thanks so much, Kathy! I’m thrilled!


Amy Grams March 1, 2012 at

Andrea, I loved the pilates metaphor. I grew up in a family that rewarded achievement and hard work. So taking time out for joy is definitely counter to my upbringing and nature. But I am trying hard to build it in. For me choosing joy every day looks like: savoring my coffee, taking a break with a cup of green tea, sneaking in a game or two of solitaire, reading with my son and petting my dog. Thanks for the inspiring post!
Amy Grams recently posted..In Search of the Perfect Diet


Andrea Olson March 1, 2012 at

Hi Amy … I’m thrilled that you see the value of joy and I love your tiny pulses. Just noticing them brings joy, doesn’t it? :)


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