A joyful list

After my friend Moriah left New York this past Monday, I was feeling a little blue. Even though the weather this week was really beautiful, I kept thinking how home was a little emptier without a friend to host.

Yesterday, I took a walk in the morning and saw so many things that made me feel better. I thought about why I couldn’t seem to remember the things that make me joyful when I’m sad. It can be hard to think of all the things you love when you’re down. So, I decided to quickly write down everything I saw and did that morning that brought me joy.

a joyful list

I bought a hundred index cards a few weeks ago for a drawing exercise I’d read about, but I’ve since stolen a few of them to make lists. (They just look so enticing when they are in an orderly stack.) So, here are a few of the things that brighten my day. I’ve stowed this card in my desk drawer and I hope to add some more cards that I can pull out whenever I’m forgetting what things activate joy in my life.

(To picture a few) Things like this brilliant blue house (and in the brick apartment next door, though you can’t see it too well, there’s a cat in the window enjoying the sunshine). I love seeing cats in the windows of homes, especially since I don’t live with a cat anymore. Now I fantasize about the life I will one day have with a cat.


Or the message in this quirky pictographic graffiti.

quirky graffiti

And these fire escape shadows…

fire escape shadows

I also drew a pattern on the back of the card. Although I probably won’t always have time to draw the items on my joyful lists, it makes them somehow feel like an official card set when they have a front and back. Perhaps one day, I’ll have a whole stack of these cards for my friends and children to look through and see the little things that I love (and remind them of all the little things they love).


You may have noticed, I like making cards and lists to remember things. I guess that’s another thing that fills me with joy! I always feel a little more productive and put-together when I have a card in my desk.

I got a chance to test this card out when I was feeling overwhelmed about work earlier this Sunday. While it didn’t chase away all my worries or ease all my anxieties, I did feel better as I read through the list and imagined each thing and reminded myself I’d see them again some day soon.

In what ways do you encourage joy and mindfulness?

5 thoughts on “A joyful list”

  1. One thing that lifts my depression is writing a quick note to someone to send in the mail. Often it is one of the few things that can get me out of a funk.

    1. Leah, that’s such a good idea. I got your note recently and it really made my day brighter. It’s awesome knowing your letter will bring a positive note to someone else’s day as well. I’m going to have to send some mail this weekend!

  2. Physical activity and getting outside usually helps me – a change of scenery is always good too, like doing work in a coffee shop instead of at home. Your list is so cute!

    1. Thank you! Those are both great things to do. My only issue with coffee shops is feeling like I’m going to lose my seat when I go to the restroom. 😉 Seating can get kind of competitive in Brooklyn.

      1. Ohhhh good point about the restroom/seat situation. I’m always nervous about leaving my stuff, so I can relate to the bathroom dilemma. It’s always the ideal situation when I can be working at a coffee shop with a friend (though that doesn’t happen too often)!

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