Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Wholehearted Living Series Guidepost 4

Joy and Gratitude are spiritual practices Brene Brown

Gratitude is a much used word at the moment. Be grateful for what you have, give thanks in all circumstances, bless the Universe for its gifts….

I love how Brené gets to the heart of the matter here: we can have a Gratitude Attitude as much as we like, but until we put it into regular (daily, hourly, minutely) practice, we’re just paying lipservice to the idea. We can speak of gratitude, but until we actually take note of how many things we have to be grateful for, until we literally do ‘Count Your Blessings’ and carry that knowledge with us, we miss the benefits.

My Gratitude practice is simple (it has to be: anything complicated or involving real effort and I’m out of there like a rabbit when the fox pops by) and mostly involves two physical actions:

  • I have a page in my planner, whichever current planner I’m using, that is titled ‘Gratitude List’ and hopefully once a day or at the very least once or twice a week I just jot down two or three items that I’m grateful for. These can be mundane items, like thank Goodness for painkillers when you have a headache, or deeper things like thank Goddess for that breath of inspiration as I walked through the forest.
  • I have a Gratitude Jar on the side in my dining room and a memo block. I note down special events or moments on the paper and slip it into the jar. The plan is that come next Midwinter or New Year’s Eve I’ll open the jar, read the notes and feel the gratitude I felt at the time again. However I’m feeling at the time, however dark my life, I hope that my body will remember the gratitude I felt at that time and flood me with joy.

Joy is so much more intrinsic than happiness, according to Brené. Her research shows that it’s very clearly linked to gratitude and awareness of how good life is despite present circumstances, not because of.

Happiness is tied to circumstance and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude

Brené Brown

We need, she says, to accept that fear and anxiety will prevent us from feeling as joyful about our life as we could be. If we fear losing the happiness we have, if we’re afraid of the inevitable dark times ahead, we can’t let ourselves enjoy what we have. We need to create an atmosphere of sufficiency; the knowledge inside ourselves that all we have is all we need, that we have enough and are enough for the life we have at this moment. The most ordinary of moments become the most precious gold in our lives.

Joy is what happens to us when we recognise how good things really are Marianne Williamson

Admitting our emotions, being honest when we’re worried or anxious that something in our life is not enough or good enough (whether that’s external, like the food at a party, or internal like our own personal self-image) and then being able to rise above that fear and say “I have enough: I am enough: I can be enough just as I am”… that’s pure power. And that power, to rest in myself at this moment and know that I am enough, that I have enough…. for that, I am eternally grateful.

Guideposts for Wholehearted Living

Other posts in this series:

Cultivating Authenticity: Wholehearted Living Guidepost Part 1

Cultivating Self-Compassion: Wholehearted Living Guidepost Part 2

Cultivating Resilience: Wholehearted Living Guidepost Part 3

If you’d like to support me….

My new book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. As you know, I do the whole kit and caboodle myself, from writing to proofreading to designing and I’m very proud of this one. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.

Cosy Happy Hygge

I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I  point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.

That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.

3-Have Yourself A Happy Hygge Christmas

If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.

My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way  was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.

How to Hygge Your Summer, in Paperback and Kindle form, has lots of good ideas for the summer months. I strongly believe that hygge is so much more than throws and warm drinks.

Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from and

I have three Christmas books,

Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.

A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.

Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.

Happier on Amazon

If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.

Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other…

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