Research from Brene Brown on gratitude and joy turned up some unexpected results. When many people think about happy individuals, they think this happiness is what leads to gratitude.
However, Brown’s findings revealed the opposite dynamic. It’s practicing gratitude first that leads to a joyful life. Brené Brown on gratitude says that being thankful for who and what we have in our lives will cause higher satisfaction.
This article explores the principles behind Brené Brown’s take on gratitude and how it relates to joyful living.
Brené Brown on Gratitude
When was the last time you were thankful for something or someone? Did you openly express your gratitude, or did you acknowledge it privately? Taking the time to notice the blessings in your life can be a regular practice.
This might include meditation and reflection on what you have to be thankful for. It could mean telling someone you appreciate their friendship, support, and role in your life. A gratitude practice can also include spending time with pets and people you care about.
Practicing gratitude looks different for everyone. The key is to do it. Whether you keep a journal that you write in weekly or you meditate each morning is not as important. But the feelings and thoughts you get from practicing gratitude are.
That’s because practicing gratitude changes how you interact with and see the world. Brené Brown found that those who were most able to find joy practiced gratitude in some shape or form.
How to Practice Gratitude
There are two main ways to practice gratitude. The previous section hinted at them, but they involve confirming what good things you’ve received, and the role others play in providing you with good things. Keep in mind that these “things” may not be things at all.
Instead, they may consist of intangibles like knowledge, mentorship, and an ear that listens. Recognizing and acknowledging intangibles can bring some people more joy and gratitude than listing out tangible items.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from listing material items that contribute to your well-being and basic needs. Think of things like a roof over your head, reliable transportation, and food on the table.
You might be grateful for your job opportunity – which is a mix of physical and nonphysical attributes. Or you could be thankful for a vacation, your physical health, and your home’s landscaping.
Gratitude and Joy as Spiritual Practices
Brené Brown states that gratitude and joy are both spiritual in nature. When others look up the details of Brené Brown on gratitude, they might find portions of her interview that describe gratitude’s spiritual nature.
Brown says that joy and gratitude are based on the belief that humans are interconnected and guided by a higher power. This is not necessarily a direct reference to “God” or a deity, however. It can represent or refer to a collective consciousness.
The concept of a collective consciousness was introduced by Carl Jung, a philosopher, psychologist, and writer. To sum the idea up, all thoughts, energies, and past and potential happenings come together.
The collective consciousness serves the same role as an omniscient narrator in a novel. It sees, observes, and absorbs everything. Its point of view is not from an individual character but from a distant, separate place. However, the collective consciousness is formless and not a person.
The Difference Between Joy and Gratitude
While joy and gratitude are interlinked, Brown says that they’re not one and the same. The difference is that one is like human emotion connected to a person’s circumstances. The other represents a spiritual form of engagement with the world.
So, gratitude is the emotion humans experience when they reflect on their circumstances. Joy is what happens when a grateful human interacts with their environment. This can be described with a straightforward example.
Say you experience positive emotions because you’re grateful you received a job offer. You might be relieved because you’ll have money coming in and can catch up on bills. You could also be thrilled about the opportunity to finally use the college degree you worked hard for.
This is gratitude. But when you walk through the doors of your new office, you are joyful because of how you interact with your coworkers. You say thank you, smile, and ask how you can contribute. You continue to feel positive about your work and life in general.
Brené Brown also says that a positive and grateful attitude doesn’t always translate into action. To practice gratitude, it’s important to take action that you or others can observe. In other words, thoughts aren’t enough to lead you to joy.
By definition, practice means taking some type of action. Again, this is going to look different for everyone. And you don’t necessarily have to take action every day. As long as you’re doing something, it counts.
For example, you could participate in or start a peer recognition program at work. Coworkers write down or share what they admire about another person. Or, they acknowledge something about the other person and their work they’re grateful for.
Maybe the other person helped them work through a difficult task. Or, they were a shoulder to cry on. Remember that taking action can also be solitary, such as writing in a journal or making plans to share with others what you’re grateful for.
Conclusion of Brene Brown on Gratitude
Interviews with Brené Brown on gratitude can be found on platforms like YouTube, in her books, and in online publications. The motivational speaker teaches that practicing gratitude is what leads to joyful living. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the other way around.
You can start practicing gratitude by writing in a journal or showing kindness to others. Sometimes the small things, such as telling a coworker thank you, are all you need to take action.
That said, gratitude and joy are distinguishable by looking at emotions as a spiritual practice. Brene Brown teaches us that gratitude is the emotion you feel because of your circumstances. However, joy is how you engage with the world around you.