Do you know what brings you joy???

 

As you may recall, I’ve written in the past that cultivating JOY in your life is one way to build personal resilience. When your personal resilience is stronger, you’ll find that if things aren’t going so well, you can dig deep into yourself and find a positive way forward. I’ve had the chance recently to propose to several clients, as well as participants of the Joy Plan course, that they create a list of 100 things that bring them joy, and I wanted to share this activity with you because of the positive feedback that I’ve received. Once you have a joy list, if you need something to feel grateful about, you can go back to your list to stimulate your thoughts. Or maybe if you’re feeling a bit blue, it is time to refer back to things that bring you joy to stimulate a mind shift. Lots of possibility with this list!!!!

{Related post: Gratitude and Joy. What’s the Connection?}

You might have thought or hoped that I would share a list of 100 things that you can read that would build more joy into your life.

Nope. This message does not contain a list of 100 joy building things.

I will definitely give you some tips and take-aways as I usually do, but not a long list.

 

Is everyone’s “Joy List” the same?

 

This is because my joy list and your joy list WILL NOT be the same. Yes, it’s true that with a long enough list there are likely some things that will overlap on our lists, but certainly not everything.

For example, one of the top items on my joy list would be chocolate. I adore chocolate, in almost any form, and I couldn’t imagine a list of things that bring ME joy that was missing chocolate. However, I have a friend and one of my nieces who don’t just dislike chocolate, they despise chocolate. So, imagine if I put chocolate on their joy lists? It would be crossed right off!

I also have a friend who is an avid mountain biker. I know for sure that riding down a mountain is close to the top of her list. For me, I can’t imagine including that activity. I do love cycling – but on a road – not a mountain! So once again, there is a disconnect between lists.

A third example is music. I have a dear friend who loves heavy metal music. He has had a keen passion for many years. I, on the other hand, love quiet acoustic style music. Over the years we have definitely had to agree to disagree on music!

And that is the beauty of creating a list of things that bring you joy. It is yours, and you alone get to decide what goes on your list.

So, I challenge you to spend some time over the next week and begin to create your own joy list. Try to make a list of 100 things!

Some feedback (paraphrased) I’ve received from people who have created their own include:

“Just thinking of things that bring me joy put me into a happy mindset.”

“I was surprised how easy it was to think of some things the bring me joy – even though I haven’t considered some of those things for a while. Doing this exercise brought me back to some things I’m definitely going to plan to do again!”

“Creating this list made me spend time thinking about how JOY actually feels. This alone was worthwhile, over and above the actual list of things!”

 

You might be the kind of person who has already said to your self, great idea and started the list in your head. Great! Go for it!

If that isn’t you, and instead, you prefer some clearer direction…here are some things to consider:

* Decide where you’re going to capture your list. It can be a file on your computer, a note on your phone, in a journal or even on a blank piece of paper. Choose somewhere that is handy so that when a joyful item comes to mind you won’t lose it because you didn’t record it!

* Several joy inspiring ideas will likely occur to you immediately (for me this is where chocolate, a child’s giggle and the wind in my face when I’m riding my bike down a hill come up). In fact, you’ll likely find that it the first 10-20 will emerge quite quickly.

* The next 20-30 will probably come to mind more slowly…maybe when you have your list in front of you and you are consciously thinking about what to add to your list.

* At a certain point in the process, you will probably find that you can’t think of another thing to add. This might happen when you’re at number 24 or number 77. It is now that I’d encourage you to first pause for a bit to create some space. Also think of some “peak life experiences” and consider what it was about those peak experiences that sparked joy. You might also want to get out into nature or get your body moving. This movement can help you access different parts of your brain where less obvious things lie.

* Pay attention to your thoughts – joy related things might just jump into your brain unexpectedly!

* Have some conversations about this with family, friends and loved-ones. You might be surprised by some of their thoughts, and while the goal isn’t to adopt the joy of someone else, other ideas might kick-start your brain.

* Give yourself an early deadline and see how many things you can come up with. If you aren’t at 100, don’t worry, see what other things you can add over the next weeks or months!

Once you have your list, keep it somewhere that you can see it. Maybe there are things on it that you haven’t experienced in a long while and you can try to add them to your upcoming calendar.

It is also likely that there will be some things on your list that spark joy, but that you can’t or don’t want to do again. Things like – holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time or sky-diving or hugging someone you’ve lost. Give yourself permission to feel the emotions that arise from this joyful thing that can’t happen again, and then see if you can find the feeling of joy you had when you were there. No, you can’t relive the experience, but perhaps the emotions are in you somewhere.

I would love to hear some of the things that make it on to YOUR joy list. What are your most outlandish things?

Comment below with the details!

 

 


 

 

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