I recently read The Gifts of Imperfection by the amazing Brené Brown and while I could write a whole blog post on quotes from that book – because I do love collecting inspirational quotes -, there is one, in particular, that has stuck with me ever since I read it.
“Without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice.”
In a whole chapter dedicated to gratitude, Brené talks about a connection between joy and gratitude. It was so interesting to see the impact that gratitude really has and how it can spark joy in our lives so here are some lessons I took from it.
The One Habit That Will Spark Joy In Your Life
Make gratitude a daily practice.
For the longest time, I kept a gratitude journal but it’s something that I stopped doing a few months ago and since then I’ve been tricking myself into believing that it is enough to feel grateful. But it really isn’t. Having an attitude of gratitude is not enough if you don’t translate it to a behavior. It’s like wanting to feel skinnier without actually going to the gym. You can’t really expect to lose weight if you don’t exercise, can you? It’s the same with gratitude, you actually have to practice.
- keep a gratitude journal
- random acts of gratitude
- send a thank you note
Finding joy doesn’t mean being happy all the time.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Joy seems to come from within while happiness is attached to external situations. But no feeling is permanent. Finding joy through gratitude doesn’t mean being happy all the time. In fact, we can’t really be happy all the time, can we? What we can do is to be more aware of all everything that makes us happy by cultivating gratitude daily.
A scarcity mindset comes from a lack of gratitude.
Another thing mentioned by Brené is scarcity. If you’re anything like me, you keep thinking that you aren’t enough or don’t have enough until you have this or that. You’re always lacking something and that leads to an unfulfilled life. The thing is, a scarcity mindset comes from a lack of gratitude so the only way to believe that you are and have enough is through the practice of gratitude.
Don’t let the bad stop you from seeing the good.
Another thing that can get in the way is the fear of the dark. Have you ever been filled with joy and suddenly start thinking that something terrible will happen? Me, too. That happens because, according to Brené, “we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.”
It’s the little things.
You might have missed feeling joyful because you were waiting for something extraordinary to happen. But to Brené, “Joy comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.” More often than not, it’s the little things that really matter.
Having said that, here are five things I’m grateful for so far this week:
- Celebrating my dad’s birthday at a nice restaurant followed by chocolate cake.
- Getting so much love on my Instagram feed from fellow bloggers.
- Enjoying my last days of “freedom” before I start my new job.
- Completing one more day of morning meditations.
- The rays of sunshine coming through the window on this cold day.