The link between gratitude and joy

Last week, Meg Townsend hosted Francine Bonjour on Prasada Talks, our monthly conversation about this month’s theme, Joy, and how it applies to you at work and in life.

While it may seem like an impossible expectation to find joy in work, there are several ways to be on the path toward that.

So often, the focus of our days is on the challenges and to-do’s. We are adults with serious responsibilities, and every cultural message tells us to be efficient with our time. So fighting one fire leads right into juggling the next tasks and then on to the next squeaky wheel with little time for a breath in between. 

What if there were another way? My rational mind can’t figure out why the opposite of this rush for optimization works—slowing down for a minute to see what IS working amidst the chaos helps. It proves itself over and over again to me.  

Robert Emmons, the leading researcher on gratitude, writes. 

“A decade’s worth of research on gratitude has shown me that when life is going well, gratitude allows us to celebrate and magnify the goodness. But what about when life goes badly?…I have often been asked if people can—or even should—feel grateful under dire circumstances.

 My response is that not only will a grateful attitude help—it is essential. In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life. In the face of demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. In the face of brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. In the face of despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope. In other words, gratitude can help us cope with hard times.”

Check out Meg and Francine’s favorite gratitude and joy practices in the Prasada Talks recording below.

Gratitude practices come in different shapes and sizes. Some are as simple as thinking about what you appreciate, writing or sharing daily what you are grateful for, to writing a more formal gratitude letter. 

Have you tried a gratitude practice? What worked best for you? Let’s create a current collection of gratitude practices to find more joy this month.

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