Where does joy come from?

My client looked at me and asked, "Where does joy come from?"
This is a question that I think many people wonder about. 

Joy comes from our sense of gratitude and appreciation. 

Joy happens when we pause and notice, really notice something we appreciate. 

To fully appreciate something or someone we need to hold it in our gaze, listen with full attention, and pause to feel it. Absorb and take in whatever it is you are appreciating. 

It can be the smell of the ocean, the water on my feet, the color of the roses. As I drove up the street a bright yellow goldfinch flew by. This morning it was the last of my earl grey tea, the soft grey color of the clouds, the message from my daughter, the warmth of the sweater on my skin. Joy comes from noticing what is right in front of you.

For some people, this is a way of being. You can make it your way of being. Pause from whatever you are doing, every hour or more, and notice something you appreciate. The more you pay attention to what you appreciate, the more you will feel joy.

Some people practice by keeping a gratitude journal. Stopping to write down and hold in your thoughts something you appreciate. This is the art of holding the gratitude in your mind, lingering on the appreciation. It is not the writing or drawing that creates the joy, it is the lingering in the appreciation. This is where joy comes from.

Can you do this without journaling?  Yes. You can do it by pausing and noticing.

What if you don't feel anything? 
It may take time for you to feel, fully feel your own appreciation of something. Be patient with yourself.  Begin by appreciating with your sight, hearing, smell, and touch whatever it is you are feeling grateful for.  Smiling can help get you closer to joy while you appreciate. Neuroscientists have found that smiling sets off a neural response in your brain that will make you feel happier. You will feel joy in time.