A few years ago, a few friends and I got together and did a study based on the book “Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Start Down Your Greatest Fears” by Margaret Feinberg. The story is about Margaret’s choice to fight cancer with joy.
One of the biggest practices in the book is this concept of a “joy bomb”. Similar to suggestions provided by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Option B to fight grief, Feinberg shares that her weapon of choice to fight cancer was with joy.
Even though my friends and I started this practice over three years ago, it has stuck with me. Counting the joy. Naming it. Numbering it. Looking out for joy rather than waiting for it to come. The practice we started when we met was naming three things a day that brought us joy. It could be anything from the taste of your coffee in the morning to the stranger that smiled at you at the post office.
I find that most often, the biggest joys come from the smallest of moments.
This gratitude practice isn’t just specific to Margaret Feinberg, or to Sheryl Sandberg; it’s everywhere. I’m sure you’ve heard someone, somewhere, share how gratitude changes everything. I truly believe it does.
It requires a mindset shift from anxiety to abundance.
A few other people who have reminded me of the practice of cultivating joy are Jess Connolly in her practice of “counting the fruit”, Rachel Hollis in her Start Today Journal where you start by naming 5 things you’re grateful for, and Ann Voscamp who encourages us to find joy right where we are in her book 1000 Little Gifts.
Inspired by all of these women who have been brave enough to share their fight for joy, I have started my own journal of joy bombs (pictured in the top of the photo below). In the mornings, I write what brought me joy the previous day. I don’t have a specific number of things set to write out. I just write whatever comes to mind. And you know what I’ve found? The more things I write, the MORE that come to mind. And the more that come to mind, the more joyful I feel reflecting on all of them and in a sense reliving them.
Joy cultivates cultivate more joy.
Right now, the list I started at the beginning of the year list has 95 things on it. They span a range of topics but I”ll share a few below.
4. The warm of this fuzzy checkered blanket
14. Not having to cook meals for lunch and dinner today
17. The man who said good morning on my way to the car
19. Kanye West’s Jesus is King Album
24. The swiftness that the clouds move across the sky
35. Learning from this Sabbath Podcast
48. Seeing both the moon and the sun at the same time on my run at 2:30 PM
66. Sunday afternoon book reading
82. A friend’s appointment going well
86. Internet being fixed!
90. Trying a new restaurant
See? They’re not big things. Many are small things. But writing these yet again brought a smile. Because joy cultivates more joy.
No matter the battles you’re facing, I would encourage you to start or continue cultivating joy. Share this with your spouse. Your friends. Your kiddos. Joy cultivates more joy so be intentional and spread the joy!