5 Days to More Joy
Welcome to your 5-day self guided challenge to create more joy in your life! Bookmark this page, because you'll be back often! Follow the below steps (one per day) to integrate simple practices into your daily life for continued joy and happiness!
Day 1 - G.L.A.D. Technique
For Day 1, let's start off with a gratitude exercise. Why do we start with gratitude? Research has shown that gratitude increases your overall joy.
The G.L.A.D. Technique is one of my favorite exercises. It focuses on Gratitude, things you Learned today, one small Accomplishment, and one thing of Delight (thus the G.L.A.D. acronym).
I like to complete my G.L.A.D. work in my journal, but you can do it right on your mobile phone too. It's a great evening ritual as it helps you review the day and pick out all the good parts.
I encourage you to do this practice every day this week. At the end of the week, use page 2 of the worksheet to reflect on the exercise.
Day 2 - "Thank You"
For Day 2, continue using your G.L.A.D. Technique (page 1 of the worksheet).
For today's exercise, we're going to write a Thank You note to someone - anyone you want!
I did this exercise with my preteens last summer at our day camp and they loved it! Some wrote thank you notes to their parents or friends, but one very wise little girl wrote one to herself. It was beautiful!
So, whether you want to write a thank you note to yourself or someone else (you don't even have to send it!), write one with your full heart today. Think of all the reasons you're thankful for that person (or yourself!). Really color a picture in your mind when you think of this person.
This exercise should only take a few minutes, but they're a few minutes well spent!
Here's the thank you letter worksheet my day campers used just to get the creative juices flowing! Extra karma points if you write your own AND send it to the recipient!
Day 3 - Loving-Kindness Practices
Welcome to Day 3! Today, we're practicing some loving-kindness. I think this is such an important practice in this age. We're bombarded by tragedy and stressed by so much - it seems we can't escape negativity sometimes. That really sits on your buzz, if you're anything like me.
So, let's practice loving-kindness in a couple of different ways. You choose the one that works best for you:
Option 1: In your journal, write the following statements out for yourself. Do so intentionally and slowly, really taking time to watch the words as you write:
- May I be free from harm.
- May I be safe and protected.
- May I be happy.
- May I forgive myself of my wrongs.
- May I be free of physical and mental suffering.
- May I be healthy and strong.
- May I be able to live in this world with peace.
On the next page in your journal, write the name of another person at the top of the page. Then proceed to write these same phrases out under their name. Simply substitute "you" for "I."
Option 2: Enjoy this Loving-Kindness Meditation!
Of course, you can do both, and the more work you put into your happiness, the more you'll get out of it.
Day 4 - Mindful Self-Forgiveness
So far, we've explored personal gratitude, created a Thank You note to ourselves or another person, and explored loving-kindness practices. Today, we're exploring Mindful Self-Forgiveness.
How often do you think about something that happened in the past? People with anxiety or depression often can't help but look back on the past and regret a TON of stuff. But you know what? It's in the past.
Now, don't get me wrong. I know that one little exercise isn't going to solve your anxiety or depression if you suffer from that, but it might be able to help. And if you don't wrestle with anxiety or depression, then this exercise will help you to give yourself a little love and forgive yourself of your past mistakes.
Sit comfortably at your desk, in your room, or where ever you feel best.
Take three deep, mindful breaths and then return your breath to normal.
Scan your day slowly in your mind, remembering the moments that stand out to you. Notice them, without judgment, and just recognize that they happened.
As memories that are sticky or feel embarrassing come up, simply say "I have caused myself harm by __________. I forgive myself." You can modify the words to something else if you'd like.
When you are done, take three deep, slow breaths again, and open your eyes when you're ready.
When you have some more time, check out this Appreciation Meditation.
Day 5 - Continued Joy
Yay! You made it to Day 5!
For our final day, I wanted to give you some tips -- as well as a favorite journaling exercise -- to help you continue on your path of joy.
#1 Exercise Tiny Moments of Mindfulness
Whenever you feel down, I encourage you to stop what you're doing (if you can!) and breathe. Take 5 deep breaths and remind yourself, "This is temporary."
#2 Enjoy a Joy Boost
Stand up! Place your hands on your hips, make sure your spine is nice and long, and SMILE! It sounds cheesy, but this big posture plus a smile will give you an immediate joy boost.
#3 Add A Little Joy Throughout Your Day
Pick an activity you do 2 or 3 times a day. For me, this would be making tea and coffee. While you do this activity, take a moment to take a deep breath, smile to yourself, and notice one thing about the moment. It might be a smell or a sensation of heat or cool. Maybe it's a particular sound. Whatever it is, just notice this one thing and name why you're grateful for it.
Here's a fun journaling exercise for you, too! Be sure to add it to your G.L.A.D. practice when you need it!