I firmly believe that the most important part of being joyful is having an attitude of gratitude. If you aren't grateful about what you have and where you are, you will never be able to have a joyful life. You can have joy while always thinking about what you don't have
Having said that, I know that after time, any gratitude practice can start to feel stale. I rounded up some fun ways to spice up your practice or to start a new one.
1. Gratitude Jar : This is actually the practice that I use the most consistently. I don't necessarily add something to it every day, but I try to several times a week. Not only do I add colorful slips of paper with things that I'm grateful for written on them, but I add ticket stubs, photos (from my Instax), things from my nature walk, just about anything that I will see and remember what an awesome life I have.
2. Daily Photo Gratitude Challenge : I love the idea of doing a visual challenge. It's easy to forget to be grateful for the little stuff when you aren't looking directly at it, but this puts a nice big reminder in front of your face.
3. Meditate / Bed Time : This is another one that I do off and on. I take a few minutes before I go to sleep to lay back, close my eyes, take some deep breaths and think about everything that went well over the day -- big (new job) to small (yay coffee!).
4. Gratitude at the Dinner Table : Once C and I get into our own place again, I want to start instituting a (at least) weekly dinner at the table. Sharing what we are grateful for WILL become a part of this tradition
5. Create a "bitch free" zone / hour / day : Don't complain for 24 hours, make dinner complaint free, have a girls afternoon where no one bitches. Trust me -- this one is hard but it'll make you feel like a million bucks
6. Focus on One Thing a Day : Make it your mantra for when you feel stressed, have some down time or just plain need to re-focus. I tried this while working during the pre-Christmas rush at Wal-Mart. The first day my mantra was "I choose to be happy" and it really did seem to improve my mood. One of those fake it til you make it situations.
7. Make it Crafty : Okay, this one is all pinterest. Here are a few ideas that I really liked the looks of, but haven't tried yet. (Leafy Wreath) (Thankful Tree) Check out the rest of my board here.
Don't forget // show a little gratitude for yourself as well -- your health, your body, your "you-ness". Gratitude begins at home!