Hey friends, heeeyyyyy!
How have you been?! I’ve missed you these past couple of months and hope your summer has been filled with fireflies, fresh beverages, and fireworks. 🙂
On this side of the social media hiatus it has been an awesome season of connection and reflection and I’ve got joy on the mind.
I guess you could say I’ve been chasing joy for a while now. I woke up one day and realized it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. My smile didn’t appear with ease as it once had and the pep wasn’t always in my step.
At first, I thought something was wrong with me. Perhaps life circumstances had me so serious, so contemplative, that I had lost my joy? Why wasn’t it down down down down down in my heart?
I began a quest for understanding and gaining joy and learned a few things along the way.
I learned that joy looks and feels different as we grow older. I realized that joy is a choice. I discovered that gratitude is the source for all things joy.
This is good stuff! Digging into and applying these truths over the past several years has helped me transform into someone who regularly possesses an attitude of gratitude. But why then, after knowing all of that, do I feel as though I am still chasing? Why do I still have some hours, some days, when I’m not feeling the joy? Could this be true for you, too?
Brene Brown has interviewed hundreds of individuals who live wholehearted, joy-filled and joyous lives. In her book “The Gifts of Imperfection: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life” she shares the key (the KEY!) to their joy. It is not that they merely have attitudes of gratitude, but they actively and intentionally practice joy each and every day.
Joy requires practice.
To me, this is revolutionary.
Practicing gratitude is more than just saying thank you when the moment strikes us. It is more than the occasional prayer or the general positive outlook we try to wake up with each day. It is intentional and active. It is continuous.
So what does that look like?
I think it can vary from person to person, but from what I gather from those in the study, it’s important for there to be tangible evidence that thankfulness has been executed. This could be a (consistent!) gratitude journal, a prayer of thanks whispered at a certain time each day, discussing what we’re thankful for around the dinner table with our loved ones, or anything that documents and pierces the atmosphere with our gratitude. This is an expression of our hearts, so we can get creative! Some might demonstrate their gratitude through drawings or art, others may use music to declare their thankfulness, still others may exhale a blessing with each rep during a workout or with every lap completed in their swim. The options are endless!
I’m intrigued and inspired and am taking this new piece of research and applying it to my own life. I’m implementing a Joy Challenge. From now until the end of the summer (marked by when my baby girl heads back to preschool), I am going to put intentional habits in place to practice consistent gratitude. I will set timers and put reminders in my calendar. I will do everything I can to set myself up for continuous gratitude success.
And because I’m a nerd and love to measure progress, I’m going to ask myself this set of questions before AND after the challenge…
- On a scale of 1-10, how joyful am I during an average week? Comments:
- On a scale of 1-10, how joyful am I when I’m experiencing pain, hardship, or stress? Comments:
- How often do I remember to give thanks when I am down, depressed, sad, or upset? (Never- Rarely- Sometimes-Often- Always)
- How have I been treating others lately? Describe:
- How often do I consistently practice gratitude? Describe:
- What are my thoughts, feelings, and opinions on joy?
I not only want more joy, but I want to stop chasing it. I want joy to consistently live within me so it can radiate from me.
Are you in for the Joy Challenge? Let’s do this!
Live Life on Purpose,