I started a tradition with my kids at the dinner table called Joy Moments. Each night we go around the table and each of us list our “joy moments” for the day. These are, as I tell my kids, whatever made you smile. It’s [usually] a fun exercise and a great way for me to hear about my kids days. There is the occasional squabble about who gets to go first and then it’s all downhill from there!
My kids never have any trouble listed 5-10 joy moments for the day. One of them is always “eating dinner with my family”, which of course I LOVE! On the flip side, I do occasionally have a hard time coming up with some bit of joy from my day. If it’s a particularly bad day the joy moment is picking up my kids and coming home. Not a rousing endorsement for my life. So of late, I’ve really tried to learn from my kids and focus more on the little joy moments and try and over look the general feeling of blah at the end of my work day.
One way I do that is to save the last 1/2 hour or so of the day for catching up on my blog reading, especially the Quaker blogs that I regularly visit. I find the most inspiring, wonderful thoughts there that really help me focus on the Positive. This routine has made a huge difference in my dinnertime joy moments. As a matter of fact, the online Quaker community was a wonderful surprise to me. I’ve just recently started attending meetings and the wealth of support and information online is amazing. I don’t think I’ve seen this much virtual positiveness anywhere else online. Keep it up!
My second trick is a slight variation on joy moments. I call this “the good things”. As I lie in bed at night, right before I fall asleep I list all the good things that happened to me that day. These are not necessarily joy moments. They may have even been stressful at the time, but with the day behind me I can look back and see what events really had an overall positive impact on me. This practice helps me focus on the unexpected good that can happen during the day. And understand that even what we don’t appreciate at the time can be a source of strength for us.
My last tactic right after the “good things” is to visualize what good things or joy moments I want to have the next day. It’s about mentally preparing me to have a good day. The things I envision don’t always happen of course but that’s not really the point. My brain is already thinking positively about tomorrow.
Try these out; share them with your kids. It’s a wonderful experience.