Have you ever noticed some particular thing and then find that you just keep noticing it? It could be a car, a word, a breed of dog, a particular style of house, or just about anything. Suddenly, you’re aware of that thing all over the place. Yeah, we’ve all had it happen at some point. It’s actually got a name! It’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon - it’s a frequency bias.
Well, recently, I’ve repeatedly come across the idea that joy is something that’s super important to our emotional well being. (duh!) I know. It’s so elemental. But sometimes the simplest truths are the most profound.
Marie Kondo, the organizational guru, revolutionized our lives with her instructions to sort our ‘stuff’ by considering their ‘joy factor.’
I bet we could also sort through emotional clutter if we could put her ‘joy’ guideline to work on other parts of our lives.
What if we honestly appraised our commitments, our friendships or memberships by asking the question, ‘Does this spark joy?’
I’m NOT advocating self centered narcissism. I’m just saying we usually make commitments from a viewpoint of ‘I guess I should’ rather than ‘I really want’.
I only wish I’d thought of this years ago! This would’ve alleviated a lot of angst. I am a recovering ‘should’ addict. I’m currently sorting through the effects of collecting way too many shouldas’, and oughtas’.
I’m recuperating from a severe case of ‘Mom Burnout’ due to all of my self imposed ‘shoulds’. As a mom of five, I remember feeling empathy in reading this Mother Goose rhyme:
But, I know now it wasn’t necessarily my kids who caused the burn- out. It was all the other commitments and obligations.
What if we moms were to hold up each of our engagements and ask, “Does this spark joy?’ or ‘Is this just another ‘should’ that’s going to clutter our lives?’
Marie Kondo struck a sensitive chord in our hearts with her invitation to question our joy levels. Joy is a rare commodity today. We put our heads down and trudge ahead like automatons. Her elegantly simple criteria jolted us to stop and think, ‘Does this make me feel any joy?’
As moms, we can easily find ourselves bound to patterns of self sacrifice long after the nightly feedings are just a memory.
What if we intentionally considered ways to spark joy in our day-to-day routines? If the ‘Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe’ had done so, she would’ve been much better off. I know I would’ve been!
I’ve been taking intentional regular steps.
My own personal journey in recovering my joy started when I enrolled in, ‘The Science of Well-Being’, a free six week online course from Yale University. FREE! That’s enough to spark a lot of joy! Having just completed it, I highly recommend it!
Intentional actions taken to awaken joy is one of the featured points in the course.
Joy. It’s such a simple word - just three little letters. But it can have such a huge impact on our emotional wellness.
After taking the course, I continued learning about specific ways we can spark joy. Below is a list I’ve gathered.
Ways to spark joy every day:
Dance to some awesome music.
Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
Plan a fun night/day out with friends.
Make new contacts.
Volunteer your time.
Grow a new hobby.
Return to an old hobby.
Send a meal to someone.
Take a scenic bike ride.
Watch a sunset or sunrise.
Pick (or buy) some fresh flowers.
Make something with your hands.
Learn a new skill
Go on an adventure (even a tiny one.)
Play with an animal.
Light scented candles.
Do a puzzle.
Soak in a bubble bath.
Try a yummy new recipe.
Make your bed each morning after waking up.
Write a letter of appreciation to someone.
Play solitaire with real cards.
Go for a walk or run.
Curl up with a book.
Make a gratitude list.
Put on relaxing music and stretch for 20 minutes.
Write a mini-poem about your day.
Draw or watercolor.
Prepare a smoothie.
Go to a new coffee shop.
Visit a museum.
So, how about it? Do you want to feel more joy? Join me in the adventure! Commit to doing one thing that brings you pleasure a day. Let's see where it leads....
I share art and life-lessons inspired by my own path towards emotional wellness,