My Best Tip for How To Find More Joy In Your Life
I recently visited MD Anderson Medical Center with my Dad for his appointment. My Dad has been living with and fighting terminal, stage four, neuro-endocrine cancer for about two years. I pick up my Mom and Dad, yes they are still married almost fifty years, and we drive five hours to Houston.
We have done this a few times and although it is stressful and we have received more bad news than good on these trips we always enjoy the time together. At some point we start to talk about all the wonderful things we are thankful for. Our family, all the memories we’ve made and the wonderful history we have. Then we meet others at breakfast and in the waiting rooms and we hear their stories. Their struggles and victories and most important what they appreciate in their life. Trust me, even the best story is full of disappointments, fear and sadness. But amazingly there is a sense of joy. Sometimes in the saddest story. By the time we leave I feel uplifted and like I have a fresh start on my life. It is always a reminder to me that joy and gratitude are directly proportional. The more I am grateful the greater my joy. It is nearly impossible not to experience the two at the same time.
Particularly during this holiday season it is ironic and easy to get caught up in the busyness, the obligations, the forced-relationships and lose sight of our blessings and consequently be in a rotten mood. Here's my best tip for how to find more joy in your life.
Take a few minutes and jot down what you are grateful for.
It's easy to remember the obvious – our families, relationships and comforts but challenge yourself to look at every area of your life in minute detail. For example, I am grateful that I breathe with ease, that my body is strong and that I can run and dance pain-free. I am grateful for a decent night's sleep, that I have a roof over my head and food whenever I need. I am grateful for my family and friends and that I live in a country where I am free to worship and follow my heart's desire.
In particular I am grateful for my amazing Dad. Who has opened his heart to all that know him. I’m grateful that we were able to go fishing this year. We didn’t say it but we both knew it would probably be the last time. I’ll never forget that morning on the lake, just the two of us. Magical!
Slow down for a moment and make your list. Then take a moment and notice your mood. Pretty amazing isn't it? (If you’re still struggling. Take a trip to Houston and visit the waiting rooms at MD Anderson. Guaranteed you’ll leave grateful for the life you have.)