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Do You Know What Brings You Joy?

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Have you found your joy?  Or do you know what TRULY brings you joy? Do you have a grasp on that or does your life feel completely joyless?  This week I got to talk to an amazing Author, Jennifer King Lindley who has written such a powerful and beneficial book.  Sometimes we all get into this funk. At times, we all can feel lost and many have lost sight of what really makes us happy and what really brings us joy.  And Jennifer’s book can help get you closer to finding joy in the simple things.  In the day-to-day things that we take for granted.  In the things that we can do every day just to help us feel freaking good! What I really loved about the book is it took journaling AND education and put it together! (And ladies… You know I LOVE my journaling and education!! lol)


Jennifer King Lindley is a health and wellness writer whose work has appeared in O, Real Simple, Parents, Martha Stewart Living, EatingWell, and many other print and digital publications. She is the author of Find Your Joy: A Powerful Self-Care Journal to Help You Thrive.

What made you think about writing a book about joy?
I was approached by a publisher to write some kind of journaling book that was going to be tilted to help lift your mood.  I was definitely excited about this project because I write a lot about positive psychology.  I write about gratitude, savoring, self-compassion, and finding your strengths and purpose and I have been drawn to these topics for quite some time.  So, for this book, I interviewed a lot of researchers, psychologists, and experts that study these interventions that can actually help us create more happiness and positive affect in our lives.

Then I translated their findings and work into a series of prompts and exercises so readers and journalers can work on these different interventions at home to find ways to access joy even when life is not perfect. Which is such an important thing to do when we live in a society where we are constantly saying, “If I get everything perfect, then finally, I will be happy, I will have joy.” One of the themes here is that life isn’t perfect, it’s quite difficult. But we can find these bursts of positive affect and positive happiness and it will help us cope better when life is not perfect.

A lot of what researchers kept emphasizing to me, as humans, we have a natural negativity bias, and we are always looking for the wolf that will attack us. We are always looking for danger, negative, etc.  But there are no more wolves out there waiting to attack us, yet we still look for those same dangers.  So, we have to stop focusing on all the negatives and all of the dangers all the time.  The idea behind a lot of positive psychology is to find time to find things to appreciate and savor and even in the face of difficulty find some balance.

The Idea of Savoring
We need to retrain ourselves to be on the lookout or to always be on a treasure hunt for the good and the things to enjoy.  That may include going for a walk and taking the time to really look at a flower that wasn’t there yesterday. Just really try to look for the good in things.  As far as savoring, I had an expert say they made a list of 5 things that day they really appreciated or loved throughout that day.  These are what they savored.

Be on the hunt for 5 things that really give you joy.  If you make it a purpose to seek it out (joy), it will become more NATURAL to you. If you do have a positive experience, you want to involve all of your senses to really savor it. Smelling it, looking at it, creating a mental picture, thinking about the taste, etc.  The more you can immerse yourself in that small positive experience, the more you are putting that into your mind bank.

We are so caught up in this culture of go-big or go-home, that the little things are overlooked and that is where it is at. The little things need to be savored and less hustled! Be here in the now and as you continuously look for the good, the little things, the little joys, you will see this shift in you.

Expressing Gratitude.
A lot of the research is on not only feeling gratitude but also expressing it to someone else. Telling that person that you were thankful for them.  Because expressing gratitude does 2 things. It makes the other person feel good.  And it cements a bond and forms a connection. One of the things that make us feel unhappy in life is feeling disconnected from people.  So, the more we are connected to other people or something bigger than us, the better and more we feel.  Even if they are smaller connections to strangers.

The Power of Play.
I did a piece in the past about the power of PLAY. As we talk about joy, I think about the importance of play as well and how it can go hand in hand.   It is clearly not a secret that no adults play anymore.  They call it a “waste of time” or “childish”.  But what is fun?  We have a hard time letting ourselves not be productive. We have a hard time doing something “fun” instead of doing what we “need” to do.  We have a hard time just allowing ourselves to do something we truly enjoy, not just to check off the list!! What gave you the greatest joy as a kid and how can you find some of that in your adult life?

Is reading giving you joy? Your animals?  One way to get more play in your life is to reflect on what gives you joy as a young person that has been crowded out from adulting. And can you do it this week for 15-20 minutes without feeling guilty?  Everyone’s play is different and it’s not just playing a board game. So take some time to think about that question.

We are entitled to MORE JOY….   We think we are entitled to do more than work hard and die. Stop and think… If I took 5 minutes or 30 minutes to do something I love to do, am I being wasteful or whimsical with my time?  I hope the answer is no.  Play can also put us into a state of flow, where we can lose track of time and operate on all cylinders. That is also very creative. Nourishing ourselves in those ways will make you feel effective in other realms as well. As I experience play, joy becomes a byproduct, and it goes hand in hand!

The Idea of Purpose.
How can you find your purpose? Have you found your purpose?  A lot of people think if I am not happy, I am not chasing grit hard enough.  The people with the highest sense of well-being are those that have a sense of purpose every day. They are not chasing after the next shiny object.  The idea of purpose is like a lighthouse. If you know your purpose, you always have something to follow even when the seas get rocky.

If you encounter a problem or setback, you still know why you are getting up in the morning.  Spend time to reflect on what your purpose might be and keeping that in mind can help you have more of a sense of well-being instead of chasing smiley-face happiness.  Take time to find your purpose!! Reminding yourself of your why can be a helpful way to boost well-being as well.

I Challenge You…
Find gratitude in 5 simple things every single day. This will help to get you to start looking for non-worry-ful things.  Make a point tomorrow to look for 5 things and write them down if you need to. Eventually, looking for those things or calling them out will become a habit.  And keep a jar of the things you find or write down to pull out and read from time to time!

Finding joy is about really getting in touch and being aware of what you personally find nourishing.  Whether it’s from your past that you don’t spend too much time doing.  Or something you wish you could do more of that you just love to do!  Giving yourself permission to enjoy it is the first step.   Trust me… It’s nourishing when it does that and allows you to do that.

You can find more of Jennifer through the links below this blog and grab her book too!

What’s one thing that makes you feel magical?
I feel like I have amazing pet karma. I feel like Dr. Dolittle. This is the 2nd cat that walks around the blocks with me. My other cat passed away and I got this current one from a shelter. It just follows me around outside and walks like the last. That is my magical pet karma I think!


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