April 1, 2015

#DailyJoyProject: Building Habits of Happiness






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She Is Fierce! is doing our own #DailyJoyProject this April!  

Join us on Instagram at Instagram.com/SheIsFierceHQ and tag us on YOUR #DailyJoyProject photos!

Tag us: @SheIsFierceHQ and author @joyellebrandt so we can follow along!

Build Habits of Happiness

It was a long and sickly winter. Nothing earth shattering, no major catastrophes, and yet as the weeks slogged on I felt myself sinking into a morass of grey. Every plan I had, every to-do list fell by the wayside, as yet another member of my family fell ill with one virus or another. I don’t have to tell you, I know you had the same winter. We all did.

And as the winter dragged on, I fell too. I fell into a place that I should know better than to go to. A place where every day felt like a long and unfulfilling series of tasks that was never ending, and even in the moments of joy I could not enjoy myself. All I could see was the never ending pile of dishes and laundry and lunches and runny noses and on and on and on…. I lost sight of the gifts.

One day I found myself whining to another mom about my sorrows, having a good old pity party about how much I hated my life and how I was thinking about getting a day job and moving the little man to full time daycare because somehow that seemed like a solution. Then, at one point in the conversation she realized that I already have three days of daycare a week, which she would probably kill for at this point in her life. As I saw that look of envy in her eye, I had that “Wow, I am an ungrateful asshole” moment.


I decided something needed to change.




I realized that I had forgotten to be happy. I got so used to feeling miserable that I let it become my normal. So I decided to do what Glennon Doyle refers to as “putting on your perspectacles”. I needed to shift my focus to all the good in my life. I have always found photography to be a great method for this. Somehow framing things in a picture slows down the moment and helps me to be truly present to the wonder and beauty of it.

So I started the #DailyJoyProject on Instagram. I decided that every day for 30 days I would post a photo of a moment of joy in my day. I hoped that I could re-train my brain to focus on the good things, and you know what they say about it taking 21 days to start a new habit. I figured I would need an extra 9 just to be on the safe side.

On the first day I photographed the sunlight streaming through my kitchen windows. This sight takes my breath away every time I see it. I remembered to appreciate our beautiful home. The next day I photographed Gavin, my adorable two-year-old boy, hugging the giant panda in the hallway of his big brother’s school. It’s his routine to stop and give the giant stuffies hugs and high fives on our way out of the school, every time. I remembered to appreciate his sweet, loving nature. The next day I photographed my bike, as I was out for the first bike ride of the year with my 7-year-old Gabriel. Just the fact that I was out for a bike ride on a sunny, warm day in February was cause for gratitude. I remembered to be grateful for the beautiful place that we live, and the fact that I am healthy enough to get on my bike and go for a ride with my son.




As the days passed, and the photos piled up, I found myself noticing so many moments throughout the day. I was paying attention to the good. I was complaining less. I was finding joy, because I was looking for it. And I realized that I need this, I need to control my brain. I need to tell it what to do, because left to its own devices, it will go dark. That’s just what it does. Through the last few years I have worked to foster a habit of gratitude, but then I go through dark periods and I forget.

And I’m sure I will forget again, because I’m human, and that’s ok. I think in life there are certain lessons that we spend a lifetime learning and re-learning, and this is one of those for me. So next winter, or a month from now, I will probably have to start this process all over again. But each time I remember a bit more quickly. Each time I am able to find a way to come back to joy. And knowing that, I move towards the light and bask in its radiance a little longer.


She Is Fierce! is doing our own #DailyJoyProject this April!  

Join us on Instagram at Instagram.com/SheIsFierceHQ and tag us on YOUR #DailyJoyProject photos!

Tag us: @SheIsFierceHQ and author @joyellebrandt so we can follow along!



Joyelle Brandt, She Is Fierce! ContributorJoyelle Brandt is the author/illustrator of Princess Monsters from A to Z. She is a passionate mama and creator, and a lover of dark chocolate, iced coffees and feathered earrings. Joyelle lives and creates from the mantra LOVE, KINDNESS, GRATITUDE.

Meet Joyelle here… http://www.joyellebrandt.com or on Facebook orInstagram

The comments +

  1. Natalie says:

    I used to be such a negative mom, always in a funk and crying “woe is me”. Then I discovered daily gratitude practices and my world changed. Love how you’re looking for the joy!

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