Yesterday, we spoke with joy strategist and music biz maven, Grace Harry (read the story). In our interview, Grace reminded us about the detrimental effects of stress on our health and argues that the effects of joy can be just as powerful.
One of the tools Grace uses with clients is a “joy toolbox” — a simple practice of keeping a small collection of items and ideas that will instantly trigger joy. We love this idea for mental and emotional health right now and thought we’d list out some great suggestions for ways to build your very own.
Grace suggests building your toolbox and dipping into it every morning. For us, the idea of saving our tool box for days we experience an emotional slump is also appealing. Create the rituals that suit you best. Here are our suggestions…
16 Items For Your Joy Toolbox
We suggest you select just 3 – 7 items below to build your toolbox. A box works, but an envelope, tray, small area of your home or bedside or desk works just as well!
personal affirmation | Grace suggests these first four items and this one could be the most important. Here are a few to get you started.
a meaningful quote | No explanation needed. Check out our Instagram feed for plenty of resources.
a crystal | Crystals are beautiful and also retain a variety of uplifting or strengthening qualities depending on the stone. Find the stone for your intention.
aromatherapy | Don’t knock it ’til you try it. Our sense of smell has an incredible effect on our mood and well-being. Find an essential oil that suits you – lavender, rose, geranium, mint and frankincense are great options. Scent is also associated with memory; consider including a scent that reminds you of a great time in life or one of your favorite things.
Elements from nature | If you don’t have an emotional attachment to a beach rock, piece of coral, pine cone or other preserved piece of nature, it might be time to create one! Saving small mementos from great trips or your weekly hike can be grounding and soothing once you are back home and in the thick of things.
messages from loved ones | Maybe your best friend wrote you an epic letter while traveling or your mom really nailed your birthday card one year. Take those personal notes and tuck them into your toolbox for an instant heart swell.
childhood momentos | Have you held on to a small toy, tool or thingamajig from your childhood? If you have anything that connects you to your childhood sense of play, innocence or joy, toss it in.
gifts from kids | If your children – or any other significant kids in your life – have made you art or messages that you treasure, consider throwing them in.
A beloved book | Maybe the book represents a big idea you need reminding of or maybe it’s a story that just brings you joy. Tuck it into the box for that imaginative and amazing feeling that only those special books can bring us.
Note to self | Write yourself a note. Be good toward yourself and write down all the things you know to be true when you are feeling joyful, hopeful and at peace. This could be a highlight reel from your journal or a list of things that inspired you this year.
the adult version of goop | Kids have all those weird goos and goops for fun and stress-relief. What object gives you that kind of satisfaction? Maybe it’s a smooth stone, a piece of silk ribbon, a feather or an actual jar of goo. Small sensory experiences can help us to unlock the power of joy.
color therapy | Do you ever fixate on a color? Color therapy is real. Learn the meaning behind the color you’re drawn to and you may be surprised to learn that it’s correlated with your current emotional needs. Tuck a ribbon, paint chip, scrap of fabric or paper clipping into your collection.
single words | We often find that single words stand out to us for a period of time. Some people pick just one word for their year or as an intention for their yoga practice for the day. You might be surprised how quickly one little word can cut through a lot of energetic baggage and bring you back to your center.
A photo | Naturally, a photo of your favorite people, places or moments can bring you immense joy. Include one that fills your heart up.
ask for notes | Ask the most important people in your life to contribute to your joy toolbox. Ask a parent, partner or best friend to write you a short, heartfelt note you can read on days that feel hard. Offer to do the same for them.
Something ridiculous | That’s the thing about joy, right? It’s not always logical. Include some glitter, a lipstick, or any other joyous, pretty or inspiring items that simply give you a spark.
Are you going to build a joy box? What will you place inside?
I think a small, happy-sounding bell, silly kazoo, or something that makes a nice sound would be good to add… (Every one of our main senses -other than taste- are covered in this list, sound is important, too!)
My husband and I have been doing this but in our apartment, whenever we travel we bring back everyday items. From a bottle opener or coffee to a rug or a painting, I love how everywhere you look there is an item that holds meaning to us. We’ve also put pictures from our travels on our bedroom, not the perfect ones, but the ones that always make us smile.