The second post in my new series, “Finding Your Joy.”
As promised, I’ve been researching how we can find joy in our every day lives. I’m on a mission to help each and every one of you live your best life.
And I’m pretty sure I found the answer… gratitude.
gratitude, n. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Scientifically speaking, gratitude is the key to happiness; it is the key to finding your joy.
According to Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas of the Greater Good Science Center based at the University of California-Berkeley, “In studies, after eight weeks of practice, brain scans of individuals who practice gratitude have stronger brain structure for social cognition and empathy, as well as the part of the brain that processes reward.” 
That’s all I needed to read and I was sold.
Well, actually it just made me want to dig deeper.
The Harvard Medical School explained, “With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” 
In an effort to help you cultivate gratitude in your own lives, I came up with three basic, yet powerful practices that you can easily incorporate into your week:
- Handwrite your “thank you’s”
- Write in a gratitude journal once or twice a week (this keeps it fresh and doesn’t make it seem like a chore)
- Write what you’re most thankful for every Monday on a post-it note and place it somewhere you will see it all week, repeat each Monday
Try one or a combination of the above over the course of the next few weeks and then let me know if you saw a difference in your overall mood and stress level, or if you think this practice impacted any of your relationships. Send me a note at Jennifer@timeformetobe.com.
 Stephanie Castillo, Medical Daily, http://www.medicaldaily.com/science-gratitude-it-really-little-things-310468, (accessed October 11, 2017).
 Harvard Mental Health Letter, Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude, (accessed October 11, 2017).