The Joy Habit

Do you close each day thinking about things you’re grateful for?

At two different talks this past week, someone asked me about keeping a gratitude journal. I track everything in a planner and hadn’t thought about tracking gratitude. But why not?

I’ve read a number of studies about the importance of gratitude in helping you feel happy. One study I read recently said the feeling of gratitude is even stronger than the feeling of love. When you’re grateful, deeply grateful, for whatever life brings you, you feel grounded and open. Challenges become learning opportunities. And blessings are less personal. Things are happening in your life for a reason. And it’s nice to close each day thinking about the strength of the net of the Universe.

One objection I’ve heard about gratitude journals is that they aren’t realistic – that you can’t focus just on the positive. But what if you’re grateful for everything and see the value in everything?

Then your closing thoughts for the day could be:

  • Saw a wonderful sunset.
  • Had 15 minutes to sit and think while I waited for someone who was late to lunch.
  • Blocked out time to reorganize my closet.

The first one is easy. When you see something awesome in nature, it’s joyous to reflect on that at the close of day. The second one is tougher. If you’re irritated that someone’s late to lunch, you could end up in a bad mood for hours. But if you take that 15 minutes as an opportunity, it becomes something you can truly be grateful for. And number three isn’t world or life changing but it’s a baby step to getting something done that you’ve put off. And isn’t that joyous?

We build and change habits by making a decision, setting out a plan, and then putting that plan in practice. How fun to make joy a habit.

Cheers today from a tree and a dog in Maine. Photo credit to Bill Maxwell. Happy 4th weekend!

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5 thoughts on “The Joy Habit

  1. Great Blog Janie! It made me feel good just reading it! I think I will start a journal,..because I think these things, but don’t write them down. It’s helpful to reflect back when times are tougher. Love that photo ❤️

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  2. One year, I put a sticky note in a glass jar with something I was grateful for each day. Then every once in a while, I would pull a few out and reread them for an instant attitude adjustment. My hubby looked at it and said it was my own personal therapy session!

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