Monday, May 4, 2015

Joy Journal

Not too long ago, I enjoyed a rare time in with Redbox. One of my picks was Hector and the Search for Happiness. It's about a psychiatrist who just kind of sleep walks through life. He's generally content. He has his routine. But one day, a client comment causes him to wonder if there's more. He sets off on a journey to discover what truly makes people happy.

I was drawn to the theme for a number of reasons. I see people day in and day out that are weighed down with depression. Sometimes trauma and tragedy are the culprits. Or, sometimes life has been quite good to them, but the quiet contentment they so desperately desire eludes them. Personally speaking, I've been there. I know what it’s like to be unsure you'll see light again. I also know when things are otherwise fine, and you “should” be fine, but instead you carry around a touch of sadness like a low grade fever. You’re functioning well enough, but at a bit of a deficit. Your joy tank is on E. Wherever you are on the continuum, I think most of us are curious about the true nature of happiness and practical ways to increase it.
 
For me, a lot of the articles and research on happiness feel a bit trite. I can certainly appreciate cultivating a lifestyle of mindfulness, gratitude, and acceptance. At times, though, those virtues seem vague and elusive and don’t offer people immediate relief from pain. You definitely have to do intentional, long term work to see enduring results. But you also need short term encouragers along the way to energize you to stay the course on your joy journey.
So, here it is. It’s time for another series and I’m calling it Joy Journal. The next several posts will offer specific things I do to improve my mood. These aren’t just things I’ve read about. These are things that help me in very tangible ways. It’s possible some or none of these ideas resonate with you. That’s okay. I hope it gets you thinking about what a sustained sense of wellbeing looks like for you and what steps you need to take to attain it. Stay tuned for the next installment- Joy Journal: Bye Felicia.

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