Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Studies across the fields of psychology, wellness, and general medicine all show strong, direct correlations between happiness and physical health. Basically, people who are happier tend to have a decreased risk of heart conditions, a more fortified immune system, lower blood pressure, and a longer lifespan overall.
For those who adhere to a tradition of Christian faith, joy is the more complete and genuine form of happiness—one given by God and dictated not by present circumstances or fleeting feelings but by an intentional perspective and practiced posture. In this sense, joy is a state that is chosen, sometimes daily, no matter one’s current situation or challenges. Because joy is a choice, and not an emotion dictated by a feeling, it is longer lasting; and when habitually practiced, it has a more solid grounding.
Of course, the practice of choosing joy in every circumstance is not a habit that is won overnight. With this in mind, we have created this journal to help you on your journey of cultivating a mindset and posture of joy.
Each day, you will be presented with the same set of three prompts:
• One word to describe today
• What brought me joy
• How I spread joy
The first prompt is your chance to honestly reflect on your personal outlook for each given day, because some days just aren’t so great, and finding the joy in them can be extra difficult. On this line, feel free to jot down how you really felt, whether that was anxious, fantastic, angry, excited, or sad.
On the next line, come up with one moment, person, place, object, or experience that brought you joy. Some days, you might have a long list to choose from, while on others, you may have trouble thinking of even one, and that’s okay. This habit stuff is meant to be a little hard sometimes!
For the last prompt, write down one small way you spread joy yourself, whether it was to a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, or whole community. Keep in mind that a helpful action or kind word that might have required almost no effort on your part may have meant the world to someone else! As you continue this practice over the weeks and months, you’ll start to notice more opportunities you have to spread joy to others, and the more joy you give to others, the more is rebounded to you!
One of the small benefits of this journal is that you can start it any time of year, and there’s absolutely no pressure if you miss a day or two. After you finish going through it once, you can go back through it for two more years, noting present joys as you are reminded of past ones. As you “stack” joy on top of joy, it is our hope that your practice of recognizing the delight of each day will develop into a habit and eventually an attitude that you can carry with you for years to come!
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