I was texting with a friend the other day and they asked how I was doing. I replied that I was doing ‘well’, and then asked how they were doing.
They said, ‘meh’.
I instantly felt that in my gut. And when I feel things in my gut, it is a signal to pay attention.
When I paused to check in with what that was all about, I realized that, although I really am ‘well’, I am actually feeling ‘meh’ when I compare it to pre-pandemic times.
Is ‘well’ the new ‘meh’?
Have we gotten so accustomed to feeling ‘meh’, ‘blah’, ‘going through the motions’ that we now consider that the new normal? The new ‘well’?
That just didn’t sit right with me in my gut.
It got me thinking about what ‘well’ really means to me (hint…it doesn’t mean ‘meh’!).
When I got really quiet and asked myself what was missing…it was joy.
So what is joy? And how could I get more of it?
"The goal is not to just create joy for ourselves, but to be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you." ~Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy
For me, joy can be felt as curiosity and interest in the world, love (loving and being loved), hope and optimism, gratitude and appreciation, creative expression, awe (appreciation of beauty and excellence) and fun. That’s a lot of different ways to experience joy!
Joy is more an internal sense of any number of those things vs being tied to an external set of circumstances, outcomes or accumulation of material things.
And thanks to neuroscience and neuroplasticity, we can rewire our brains to recognize and experience more joy simply by practicing.
You might be thinking, well, I already keep a gratitude journal or count my blessings every day. Isn’t that cultivating joy?
According to Positive Psychology and Brene Brown, yes!!!
However, full disclosure, practicing gratitude has made me more grateful and appreciative and yet I haven’t quite connected that to feeling more joyful. 🤷🏻♀️
Words hold a lot of meaning for me…and as I’ve witnessed through coaching, hold a lot of meaning for a lot of other people too.
So it’s for this reason, that I am choosing to notice it and name it and track it as ‘joy’…as an experiment to see if it has a different effect than a gratitude practice.
Starting on Monday, January 17, 2022, join me in experimenting with keeping a Joyful Journal. I will be pausing to notice what makes me feel joy in the moment and then journaling about it at the end of each day.
I’ll share what I am joyful for in my stories every day and I invite you to do the same. Make sure to use the hashtag #21daysofjoy2022 so we can all follow along.
What are you joyful for?
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