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How a Joy Journey Helps with Daily Gratitude

joy gratitude thanksgiving marie kondo

It seems that “practicing gratitude” is the biggest catch phrase right now. Between journal covers at TJ Maxx and morning tv shows, it’s everywhere. No longer reserved for awkward family Thanksgivings, thinking about what you’re thankful for has immense benefits for your health. Not only that, but it’s a great tool for helping you on your joy checking journey. It all goes hand in hand, really. Your journey of finding what “sparks joy” can actually help make your gratitude muscle stronger.

I hear from people all the time how a tidy festival is a “game changer”. I think the reason is, is that it changes a person’s perspective on not only what is important and “sparks joy” for them, but also changes how they perceive things. It’s a mentality shift. When they open a drawer, they sigh in happiness with gratitude. They immediately have gratitude for themselves and their behaviors, knowing that allocating time to focus on themselves was extremely important.

A heart that gives thanks, douglas wood

They remember that taking the time to focus on their own things wasn’t selfish. They no longer look in their closets irritated and ashamed of themselves. Before a tidying festival, many clients have explained the guilt they have experienced in the past. They hated having stuff everywhere. Many have told me that they wanted to set better examples for their children and just didn’t know how to start.

Is that the way you want to start the day? Clothing falling on your head, nothing to wear, and feeling like a bad mom? It’s hard to feel grateful in those scenarios.

There is also a huge sense of gratitude for their items.

counting blessings, willie nelson

They start off the day appreciative of the clothing they own. They know they handpicked each item to serve a purpose, whether it’s a sweater to keep them warm or a dress they know they look smashing in. There is no longer the guilt that they don’t fit into half the jeans that were once staring up at them. The focus is turned from guilt and annoyance to celebration, excitement, and happiness.

Picture two different mornings.

Let’s call our client “Cassie”. Cassie wakes up, looks in her closet and sees a mess. She feels guilty and ashamed. She can’t find a matching shoe or anything to wear. She has credit card debt from all the clothes, but why? She doesn’t even like anything. She feels nothing looks good on her. On top of that, she feels even more guilt as she looks at her jeans knowing she messed up her diet this weekend. She feels even more guilt and anxiety piling on, knowing she’ll never fit back into them. How do you have gratitude there? You don’t. Cassie feels miserable about herself. It’s hard to say “I’m grateful for my warm sweater” when you’re starting out with this scenario.

feeling alive

Here is our other scenario.

Cassie, who is very busy has finally set aside time to focus on herself. She found someone to watch her kids for 3 hours so she could work completely uninterrupted.

She knows this will make her a better mom and that there is also nothing selfish about selfcare. (Yes, organizing is selfcare).

She has gone through her entire closet and feels good about donating items that no longer serve her. She has saved (in a box where she won’t see them) a handful of clothes that she loves but no longer fit. She knows she loves each and every item and has no guilt about sizes when she gets dressed in the morning.

enough is a feast

She can find everything she needs, and she feels good about the way she looks because she only kept items that

1.) she loves


2.) look good on her.

She smiles at herself in the mirror. Her items that brought her guilt are now gone and serving someone else in need.

She can start the day off with a smile and gratitude saying to herself, "I’m grateful for my new shoes and the sweater that keeps me warm”. There is no internal voice saying, “you fat slob, you messed up your diet, of course your pants don’t zip.” That is gone.

thankfulness and joy

The focus has changed. Cassie thinks to herself, “look at your awesome closet. You’re really starting to get closer to living your ideal lifestyle. Getting ready this morning was easy. I wasn’t as stressed and guilty feeling.” Practicing gratitude throughout the day comes so much easier now.


How Joy Checking makes gratitude flow

1.) You’re focusing on things you love.

For example, your mind is focused on a positive already. You are finding things to keep that “spark joy” aka your favorite items. This is what I have my clients do when we first begin. I have them find one of their very favorite items first and I tell them to hold onto that feeling throughout the entire process.

2.) You’re focusing on being positive in a natural way.

What I love about this is it’s not “toxic positivity”. Have you ever heard of this? If not, think of those people who want everyone to be positive no matter what. They think you should always look on the bright side. Yuck. Sometimes it’s normal to vent, be down, or need to think through a problem. Here is a good article about it Instead, when we joy check, we are really focusing on things you really like! It’s not forced, it’s a muscle you work on in the right way.

3.) You charge at your problems head on.

Your head is no longer in the sand. You are focusing on changing attitudes and beliefs towards different aspects of your life. You’re literally clearing out clutter in your closet and in your mind. This then paves the way towards a clear head that can create gracious thoughts.

4.) You have time.

I’m sorry but who has time to write in a gratitude journal if they can’t even find a matching shoe? According to a study, Americans spend 2.5 days a year looking for lost items in their homes.

5.) You’re starting your day right.

Your focus is in the right place from the get-go. You start your day with more calm than chaos. Seeing a clean closet in the morning is the equivalent of eating breakfast. You pave the way to see the good throughout the day. Your closet can now work as one of the first “gratitude cues” of the day. According to the Mayo clinic, “Any new habit needs reminders, and cues are a great way to stay on course.”

6.) You practice generosity.

When you only keep what you love, you make room for your own generosity towards others. Items should not rot in the back of closets. There are plenty of people who would love to use the items that are just clutter to you. You’re keeping these people in your heart. Your focus goes towards love and giving, instead of hording and irritation. Practicing gratitude comes so much easier when you’re generous. It creates a natural positive spin on the day. In fact, according to Harvard, counting your blessing is a great way to cultivate gratitude.

7.) You see clearly all the items that you’re grateful for.

You start the day thinking to yourself “I’m grateful for the warmth this sweater gives me” instead of “ugh these pants are too tight”. It changes our mindset away from toxic emotions…even resentment and envy. According to Mindful, just observing is a good way to begin your gratitude journey.

8.) You spend money differently.

When you start out with gratitude you don’t feel the need to spend as much. You’re already grateful for the items you own.

9.) You feel gratitude when you fold or clean.

I know this sounds like total… well, you know…but for real. When you are doing the chore of folding or putting back kitchen tools it can become a meditation or almost a mantra of thanks. You fold and think “man, I really love this top, I’m going to wear it again this week” or “this silly cheese grater is the most ergonomic grater I’ve ever owned. It was so nice my hand didn’t hurt while using it.” When you constantly talk to yourself like this it’s easier to naturally keep that positive internal dialogue going in other areas of your life.

According to Very Well and psychologist Robert Emmons, “gratitude can have a transformative effect on people's lives for several reasons. Because it helps people focus on the present, it plays a role in magnifying positive emotions. He also suggests that it can help improve people's self-worth. When you acknowledge that there are people in the world who care about you and are looking out for your interests, it can help you recognize your value.”

10.) It literally can change your brain.

According to WebMD, “When you make an effort to focus your mind and thoughts on things you are grateful for, you'll start to notice more things to be grateful for. Brain scans of people who foster gratitude have shown changes to the prefrontal cortex that make them more likely to experience gratitude in the future. This means that as you work to have more gratitude in your life, the positive feelings of thankfulness will begin to flow more easily and naturally.”

giving thanks

What I’m grateful for? Plenty. Right now though, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped me thrive during my Marie Kondo / KonMari journey. All the practice clients who hour by hour are leading me closer and closer to my certification. I’m so thankful for the lessons I’ve learned from each one of you. You’ve all shared some deep areas of your lives. I appreciate your openness and willingness to “spark joy”.

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