I’ve been blogging for 5 years now. When I first started I was not very open about it. I was writing solely for myself then, to save myself from feeling so unhappy. Over the years I have been more and more open. I think everyone that knows me now knows that I write.
As I have become more and more open about my blog I tend to get one question more than any other. When I describe my blogs topic, having more joy and happiness in life, I am often asked where to start. The question is phrased in different ways:
What is your advice for someone to feel happier right away?
How do you suggest someone start Chasing Joy?
What is the first thing a person should do to feel happier?
What’s the first thing you tell people who want more Joy?
The first time I got the question I though about it for a second. Since then my answer is the same. Count your blessings. The reason being, that it is hard to feel both grateful and unhappy at the same time.
That is my short answer. Now I know it is not that simple. If it were this blog would have ended a long time ago because I ‘d have nothing else to say. The reality is that most of us have lots to be grateful for but we also have lots to feel stressed, overwhelmed, angered, or saddened about. It all comes down to focus. The more you focus on the things you have to feel grateful for, the less space in your consciousness there is for the sad, stressful, and overwhelming things.
On the surface gratitude is easy but after a while it can get more and more challenging. If you had to write 1000 things you were grateful for the first 10 would take only seconds.
See that was easy. But as you go on and on it would get harder and harder to think up new things. It would require more thought, more observation, and more focus to find things to be grateful for. It is in shifting your focus to beyond the obvious things to feel grateful for that feeling grateful will begin to lessen the severity of those feelings of unhappiness.
In addition to gratitude there are many other ways to have more joy. Trying new things. Improving your relationships. Improving your health. Accomplishing goals. Affirmations. Spiritual Practice. Boosting self-esteem. I could go on and on but practicing gratitude is the easiest way to get started. You can keep a physical list of gratitude in a journal. You can create a Joy Jar. You can express gratitude as part of your prayers or spiritual practice. You can participate in #ThankfulThursday on your favorite Social Media Sites. Just so many ways.
There you have it. The answer to Chasing Joy’s most asked question.
If you could do just one thing to feel happier where would you start? Would you take up gratitude or do something different?