How to be Joyful and Thankful

Ideas for Positive Thinking and Gratefulness During Stressful Times

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Pandemics, rolling blackouts, hurricanes, and wildfires are just some of the events that have topped our headlines and changed our lives currently and in the recent past.  For the most part, Americans do not have to deal with major catastrophes on a whole. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic and other major events, we have been inundated with upheavals that have altered our sense of stability, mental fortitude, and overall happiness.

It is important in the midst of a crisis, that we take notice of the things that are good and lovely. That can be hard when it feels like the sky is falling.  Finding joy and thankfulness can also be practices rather than just feelings. Here are some tips to help you practice being joyful and thankful.

Thankfulness Jar

Every day, write down on a piece of paper,  something you’re grateful for. Put it in a jar. When you get upset or feeling down, you can put your hand in the jar and retrieve a thankfulness note. This is a great way to divert your attention from feeling bad to feeling thankful. It is also nice to open up at the beginning of the new year and count your blessings from the past year.

Daily Journal

Keeping a gratefulness journal every day is a healthy practice. Bringing to the forefront of our mind the things we are grateful for and putting them to paper allows us to actively ponder our blessings. Commit to doing it every day.


There is something about being in nature that makes us joyful, and also induces a sense of well-being and thankfulness. The fresh air alone will spark something well within your body, and even your soul. 

Look around and take in all of your surroundings. Gaze at the sky with its puffy clouds and the light blue hue. Fixate your attention to the trees and wildlife. Be thankful for all of the majestic beauty that surrounds us– that we may not even notice in our day-to-day life.

Preparing Your Own Food and Eating Slowly

Preparing and cooking your own food can be very relaxing. Use this time to think of all of the happy times in your life. Reflect on good times that you had cooking and entertaining or on special mealtime moments with your family or friends. Let the aroma permeate your nose. Does it evoke memories of being in Grandma’s kitchen? Or bring you back to a time when things were much simpler? 

When you eat, slow down–enjoy each bite. Often, we rush through our meal as if it’s our last.  Taste your food and be grateful for each mouthful–for each drink. 


There is nothing like humor to bolster our moods and create joy within us. There are numerous things you can do to expose yourself to the joys of laughter. 

  • Watch or listen to your favorite comedian. 
  • Be silly with your children. This is good for them as well.
  • You are never too old to make funny faces in the mirror. You will certainly crack yourself up.
  • Laugh at nothing. The sound of your laughter will make you laugh.

Take the High Road

Life is full of conflicts and irritations. More often than not–it comes in the form of dealing with other people. You do not have to let the actions of others rob you of your joy and happiness. Make sure you do not give your sunshine away to people that don’t deserve it.

In every decision, there are two paths–two directions. The right way and the wrong way or the high road and the low road. Practicing taking the high road will bring you more joy than trudging away on the low, desolate road. In other words, if you maintain a spirit of always being gracious, cordial, and friendly; it will pay off in how you feel. Treating others with kindness, especially when they don’t deserve it, will be cumulative in its effect. The happiness you feel by being the better person will, in turn, make you into a better person. 

Life is not always a bowl of cherries, especially in times of crisis. You must make a conscious and purposeful choice to be joyful, thankful, and happy. 

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