Why You Should Start A Joy Journal

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m caught in a rut.  The day to day routine of life has been getting to me.  My kids have been driving me up the wall and I find myself annoyed by my own voice some days.  By the time my husband comes home, all I want to do is push the kids towards him and lock myself in a room.  Little things the kids do that might have been funny if I were in a better mood just come across as irritating.  I haven’t liked the grumpy person that’s been taking over my life and I came to the realization the other day that I needed to do something to stop the cycle.  No one else was going to be able to change my attitude.

Chances are, you’ve heard of a gratitude journal.  Maybe you even have one.  Or maybe you started one a while back and haven’t written in it in a while.  As for me, I have one that I started a few years ago, did great for a while, stopped for a bit, picked it back up again, stopped, and the cycle continues.  Over and over I’ve heard the benefits of writing down the things you’re grateful for and how it helps you become more grateful.  But in my case, trying to write down 3-5 things I’m grateful for each day felt more like a chore.  It felt repetitive.  Even in the times that I had a whole list of things to choose from to write down, it still felt a little insincere to simply write a few words to try and convey my gratitude. 

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

To help improve my overall attitude, I thought about picking up my gratitude journal again, but it just didn’t feel like quite the right solution, especially knowing how my attempts to maintain a gratitude journal never seemed to stick.  That’s when the thought came to me that I needed to focus on joy rather than gratitude.  Both are connected to each other, but I felt that by focusing on joy that I would be better able to focus on moments of my day that brought me joy.  As many of you can probably agree, the days where everything is wonderful and full of happiness and joy are few and far between.  Most days are just normal days with sunshine scattered throughout it.  Those pieces of sunshine are what I wanted to think about.  At the end of the day, I wanted to write down those moments that brought me joy.

When I was at the store earlier this week, I happened to pass by a little aisle stand that had some journals on it.  One that caught my eye said “Make something good today”.  I picked it up and put it in my cart.  That night before climbing into bed, I wrote a little paragraph on the first page about the purpose of the journal and what I hoped to gain from it.  Earlier that day, I’d found a quote that said, “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  I knew that if I could commit myself to writing at least three things each day that brought me joy and why I was thankful for those things, that eventually I would feel more gratitude and my overall attitude would improve.

Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.

I’m only on day 3 of writing in my joy journal, but I can already tell that it’s making a difference.  By treating each moment of joy as a separate experience in the day, I can basically write a mini-story about each joyful moment.  This is so much more effective for me than simply writing a list of what I’m grateful for.  I get to share a piece of my day with a focus on joy, which in turn, makes me feel more grateful.  Additionally, I’m either looking for joyful things during the day to include in my joy journal, or I make an effort to create joy so that I have something to write about.

So why should you start a joy journal?  Or maybe the better question is, what do you have to lose by starting a joy journal?  I don’t care who you are, you will have days, weeks, months or maybe even longer when life just isn’t going the way you wanted or hoped it would.  The only thing you have control over is your attitude and what you choose to focus on. 

I encourage you to take a few minutes at some point during your day and just pause.  Think about what has brought you joy and write it down.  Write it in a journal.  Send someone a card or leave a note.  Write down and record the joy and on the days when you need a little boost, go back to the things you’ve written down and read them.  Take a step back from whatever hard thing you are facing and remember the joy.  Use it to encourage and uplift you and those around you.  Joy is meant to be shared.  And don’t we all need a little more joy in our lives?

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

I have a stack of quote cards that I keep in my bathroom.  Each week or so, I move the one on top to the back of the stack and read the next one, trying to keep it in my thoughts throughout the day and coming week.  Right now, the one on top says, “How quick we are to find the rainbow before being thankful for the rain.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

So often, we are looking for the rainbow or the light at the end of the tunnel because we just want to get through whatever we are facing and just be done with it so we can move on to other, happier things.  And don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I think we should enjoy going through hard things or that we shouldn’t feel relieved when they are over.  I like feeling happy and strive for it.

I’ll be honest: my life is pretty easy most of the time.  My husband has a job that supports our family, which means I’m able to stay at home with our kids.  We have a full fridge, freezer and cold storage.  My children have clothes to wear and shoes on their feet.  When they grow out of them, I can easily go buy more.  My family is healthy and strong.  My list of troubles is fairly short and for that I am grateful.

But I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately and how easy it is to forget to show gratitude.  I mean, sure, I regularly say thank you to my family and friends and people who hold the door for me on the way in/out of a store.  I say my prayers and thank God for my home, my family, my husband’s job and food on the table.  But what I mean is, it’s easy to be thankful when things are easy.  When things are going well.  Nothing major is going on.  Nothing that makes me stop and think about what it is that I have in my life because it’s just part of my life, you know?

As we move into the holiday season, I am making a more concentrated effort to look for the things I am thankful for and write them down.  I want to take special note of what I am grateful for in my life.  And by doing these things, I hope to better remember how very blessed I am.  My hope is to establish a habit and attitude of gratitude that carries beyond the holiday season and becomes a deeper part of me.

Here are a few ways I’ve thought of to help myself.  Maybe one of these will ring true for you as well:

Gratitude Journal:  I have a journal that only has lists of what I’m grateful for in it.  As I look back through it, I can see that I get more specific with what I’m thankful for the most consistently I write things down and it often reflects what was going on in my life at the time.  I have also seen people write down one or two things they are thankful for in their planner, which I think is a neat idea as well.

Thankful Tree:  Last year, we started a Thankful Tree as one of our Thanksgiving traditions.  I made a tree out of brown paper sacks and cut leaves out of construction paper.  Each day, we would write down what we were thankful for and put it on the tree.  By the end of the month, the entire tree was covered by all the things we were thankful for.  Definitely one of my favorite traditions we’ve started.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Say Thank You (Be Specific):  This suggestion steers away from writing things down, but I think it’s equally important to say out loud what we are thankful for and to tell people what about them we are thankful for.  Try thinking of one person each day that you are thankful for and then think of something specific about them that you are thankful for and then tell them!  I’m sure it will make their day.

To help celebrate the season of thankfulness and gratitude, Cents of Style has designed this cute shirt that simply says “thankful, grateful, blessed” on the front.  It is perfect for any time of year, but it’s getting quite a bit cooler here in Utah so I’m layering it.  You can get this shirt in 2 colors: gold/white and wine/white.  I had the hardest time deciding which one to get but ultimately chose the darker color.  Another thing I love about this shirt is how long it is!  I am tall (5’9″) and sometimes I have a hard time finding shirts that fit my long torso but the size small fit great with a little bit of breathing room.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

If you’d like to grab one of these shirts for yourself, Cents of Style is running a promotion from 11/4/16 to 11/6/16 where you can get either shirt (or both!) for FREE with any $25 purchase using the coupon code THANKFUL1.  And, as always, they offer free shipping!

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Click HERE to go to their website and see what great stuff you can find.  (And I promise you that finding $25 worth of clothing and/or accessories is not hard.)  Did you see the Remi Swing Dress I wore a couple of weeks ago?  Or the ‘uplift’ bracelet from their tribe jewelry collection?  The ‘Thankful, Grateful, Blessed’ shirt normally sells for $29.95 so you could even grab one in one color and then get the other one free with the coupon code.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Before you leave today, share a comment below about something you are thankful for, grateful for, or blessed to have.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend!

I received this shirt in exchange for my review and promotion but all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

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