Introducing the JoyInciters

JoyInciter = a strategy or practice which can bring greater happiness in life

I would like to introduce you to what I call the JoyInciters, a collection of simple practices which I use regularly to increase the level of happiness and joy in my life.  And even though some folks make a distinction between joy and happiness, I use the terms interchangeably.  I have collected these strategies from my study of happiness over the years, as well as my own life experiences, and have found them to be instrumental in moving me from not feeling good to feeling better, or from feeling okay to feeling happier.

I have come to have great respect for my feelings–they help me to know “where I am” at any given moment.  I see them (all of them) as significant helpers in life.  But I certainly don’t like them all.  I’ve heard it said that we “live at the address of our thoughts,” and I would add that our feelings (sad, depressed, excited, happy, etc.) are most often set in place by our thoughts.  Especially thoughts that we allow to become dominant in our minds.

My JoyInciters, if practiced authentically and regularly, WILL increase your joy.  I like the term JoyInciter, and when I created it, I played with other similar “words,” such as JoyEnticer, JoyInsider, and JoyInsight, but I love the idea that some very simple things we can do will incite (def = spur on, push toward action) us to get to where we want to go.  And I submit to you the belief that we all want to be happier.

I will be introducing one JoyInciter every week or so.

JoyInciter #1  is the most fundamental of all the strategies (and a practice which I imagine we all do to some extent): expressing gratitude.  This is what I am suggesting–make being thankful a regular, conscious practice.  And to help that endeavor, I keep an ongoing listing of what I’m thankful for, a gratitude journal or what I call my THANKSGIVING BOOK.

Everyday (or whenever I think of it), I write something down I’m thankful for.  I have come to realize that what I write down is NOT the most important factor of this practice.  But the LOOKING for thanksgiving is paramount in causing a shift in SEEING.  And it’s SO easy.  Right now as I type, I am grateful to be able to type, to have a computer and a smart phone, to have this popcorn I am eating, to have a bed to sleep in, etc.  Two of my courses this semester are keeping gratitude journals, and we begin class each day by sharing what we’re thankful for.

I challenge you to consciously begin to look for that which you are thankful for (whether you use a Thanksgiving Book or not).  To get started, tell me a few things you are grateful for right now.  This practice is a definite JoyInciter.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nick Glazier on February 21, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    I am thankful that even when I have a bad day, I have friends who care about me. And that I can also help my friends in their time of need. Plus my dog

    Reply

  2. Posted by Brandylon Haynes Witcher on February 21, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    I am grateful for second chances. I am grateful that I have a supportive husband that supported my decision to return to school and complete my college education even when everyone around us said that I shouldn’t go back. I’m grateful for each breath that I take, it means that I am alive and still among the living.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Amy Bosch on February 21, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I am thankful that my children are healthy.
    I am thankful that my children are sleeping through the night.
    I am thankful that Publix had my favorite bread that they make in their bakery this morning.

    Reply

    • Wonderful! I highly encourage you to let this be the initial entry in your personal Thanksgiving Book. Also, can I borrow some of that delicious bread?

      Reply

  4. I love this, Neal! I use my photo of the day project like this, but I love the idea of a gratitude journal. Thank you for helping me learn how to invite and incite joy!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Robert on February 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Actual Journal Entries from book: I’m grateful for surprises. That I have my two cats! For my children and grandchildren. My understanding of the secret. More importantly; I am grateful for being in a state where I spend each day in a place of continual, profound gratitude! I find this becoming easier as i do it!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Samantha Shore on February 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Dr. Saye,

    I still think this is one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in college. Even though I started my gratitude journal when I took my first one of your classes two years ago, it’s still something I practice. It’s nice to look back on when you’re having a bad day and see all of the things you have to be grateful for. Thanks for teaching me this!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Mary Ann on February 22, 2012 at 5:34 AM

    I am thankful for many things in my life but for now I will say I am thankful for friends who put joy in my heart and a smile on my face. Being able to read your articles is truly a new blessing in my life. THANK YOU

    Reply

    • Mary Ann! So sorry I didn’t see and respond to your comment before now! I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. I’m still very new to this format but am fun with it.

      Reply

  8. I’m thankful that I will never be alone in this world. I know that there will always be someone by my side to help me through the day and night. When I feel afraid of the dark and the uncertainness of my future, I just think about my family and friends who support me.

    Reply

    • Sylvan! Hey. We miss you at GSU. Was hoping to hear from you soon. This past Saturday I went to the Savannah Irish Festival and thought of you when I bought a ticket for a chance to win a trip to Ireland (which I intend to win). I want a tour when I arrive!

      Reply

  9. Posted by Briana on February 23, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    I am thankful for the group of friends I have met since coming to GSU. They are my family away from home. I am also thankful for chocolate. I love it.

    Reply

  10. Posted by thecollegedarwin on February 24, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    I’m thankful for lemon-sweetened ice tea when my friend is saying, “Sweet, sweet carbonation,” while teasing me with a soda, which I’ve given up for Lent.

    Reply

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