Oodles of Joy Doodles
I started to become very interested in the subject of happiness when I was feeling very unhappy. The research opened up a can of worms that I never expected and my interest has turned into a passion and that passion has added so much joy, happiness and gratitude to my life. I have talked about temporary state changes in en earlier blog http://livebigandsmall.com/2015/03/12/climb-aboard-for-the-state-changing-ride-for-your-life/ and although they are very effective at pulling me out of a bad place, what I am talking about now is achieving true happiness and sustaining it.
I did a lot of research on the subject and there were many different takes on how to acquire sustainable happiness in life. There was one element that each and every resource agreed on, practicing gratitude.
Seeing as gratitude was the common denominator in all of my research thus far, and it was much cheaper than installing a sauna (saunas were also proven to cheer folks up), I decided that I’d better get started on the gratitude bandwagon.
So I began my routine of practicing gratitude. As I thought of and wrote down what I was grateful for each day, it felt exactly like being at the Thanksgiving table right before dinner. It’s my turn and everybody glares at me, fork in hand, hoping I don’t say something dumb again like being thankful that everyone was finished giving thanks so we can finally eat. By the time it gets around to me everyone had already been thankful for the regular boring stuff. It’s so easy to be thankful that we are all together (snore), everyone is healthy and nobody is in jail. So when it came to me practicing gratitude my thanks were as canned as the cranberry sauce.
After a week of going through the motions and pretending to be thankful for stuff (I must have said thanks to the bees ten times) I realized that I was getting nowhere fast and my attitude of gratitude star ted to fade.
A few weeks later I hit a particularly low point in my life and did not even feel thankful for bees anymore. I was so sad and I knew I was the only one that could turn myself around. I needed some happiness. Then I had an idea. I grabbed a blank notebook (I never minimize on blank notebooks!) and started to doodle. This was the beginning of my Joy Journal.
Jotting in my Joy Journal brought me immediate relief. Once I realized that I would be writing down my “joys” throughout the day I found myself looking for them. I found most of my first joys with something delicious to eat. I would draw a picture of it and a bunch of “yummy’s” around it with colored pencils and make a whole event of it. I found many of my joys on my daily walks with Bongo. We ran into a cat three times that week that literally had a mustache and he was a main character in my Joy Journal all three days. That cat arrived just in the nick of time! I was filling up an entire page a day with all of my little joys and all those little joys added up to pulling me out of my funk.
Practice Makes Purrfect
You can call it counting your blessings, practicing gratitude, giving thanks or finding joys, but whatever you call it, or however you practice it I now know first hand why this practice is so important to sustaining happiness. Daily writing in my Joy Journal keeps me out of my funks and looking forward to the little things around me that make my day and my life happy. I now feel thankful for so many things that I used to take for granted. Like driving with all my windows down and those dang bees.