Documenting a "Spark Joy" Life: Paper

A few of my favorite things ... jamon serrano, Spanish olives, wine and, of course, my Five Minute Journal.

A few of my favorite things ... jamon serrano, Spanish olives, wine and, of course, my Five Minute Journal.

It's Day Six in Spain and my mind is swirling with gratitude and joy for the wonderful experiences that I've had.  I've walked the beach at Tossa de Mar, played soccer in seemingly every corner of Catalonia and even did a 12-hour organizing marathon at my dear friend's home. I've just spent three glorious hours reading in the grass at the Parque del Buen Retiro, surrounded by songbirds and daisies. The "spark joy" senses are on overload!

So now is the perfect moment to transition to our next stop on the journey: Paper. The one and only paper item that I've brought with me (well, in addition to my Moleskin notebook) is my Five Minute Journal. One year ago, I picked up this journal on a whim at a local bookstore, and I must say, it's been transformative.

Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I am greeted by a beautiful quote, followed by my prompts to answer the following questions:

  1. What are your grateful for? (3 things)

  2. What would make today great? (3 things)

  3. Personal affirmation ... "I am ... "

Then at night, before my head hits the pillow, I answer:

  1. What are three amazing things that happened today?

  2. How could you have made today even better?

My favorite question is "What would make today great?". While in Barcelona, I asked my 7- and 10-year old hosts this question, and they answered: A walk, being together, playing on the beach, eating pizza and ice cream. We did all of those things. It was a perfect day.

I cannot overstate the positive benefits that I experience when I regularly incorporate this brief exercise into my daily routine. Based on proven research in positive psychology, this practice allows us to reap the enormous benefits of gratitude and intention. 

Living a life of simplicity means taking the time to appreciate the simple things. With that, I'll leave you with a quote from the journal, page 165:

Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.
— Kurt Vonnegut


Now, on to appreciating my last day in Madrid ... !Hasta pronto!