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JoyKit for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Just like a ship needs a wise captain, our life journey requires cultivating self-awareness as our guiding light.

Author: Margarita Toporkova, Global Engagement and Wellbeing Specialist at Keywords Studios
Date Published: 10/10/2023
A graphic of a person sitting on a lake with a mountain in the front

On World Mental Health Day, it’s important to note that amidst responsibilities and obligations, we sometimes forget to prioritise our own mental health and wellbeing. Recognising the power of self-awareness and its impact on our lives and the number of joyful moments it can create is crucial. 

Creating your JoyKit

How do we seamlessly integrate self-awareness practices into our daily routines? Fortunately, there’s a wonderfully simple and creatively inspired solution. You’ve likely heard about triggers in the context of stress, but recently, I stumbled upon the concept of a ‘glimmer’—and it clicked!

Glimmers’ is a term coined by Deb Dana, a licensed clinical social worker, in her 2018 book “The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy”. It refers to small moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which helps our nervous system to feel safe and calm. Glimmers can be as simple as seeing a rainbow or feeling accomplished. These small moments of positivity are healthy coping mechanisms that can give us hope in difficult moments. While many people experience similar moments of awe or wonder when faced with natural beauty or kind acts, the specific things that bring inspiration are often unique and subjective.

Twi hands holding each other, the first is golden and surrounded by flowers, the second is blue and surrounded by vines.

Suddenly, all the insights I’ve gained on self-awareness and the power of crafting a list of glimmers for boosting mental health and wellbeing converged!

So, here are a few quick tips on creating your very own JoyKit:

  • Remember past glimmers: Find a moment, close your eyes, and recall instances where you felt pure content. Try to record as many as you can, whether they were grand or seemingly trivial, like your morning coffee or a heartwarming chat.
  • Understand your own positive triggers: What consistently makes you happy? Is it the outdoors, connecting with loved ones, your hobbies, or new experiences?  Glimmers can vary in significance, for example experiencing a new country or spending time with your pet at a moment of stress, but both can bring equal positivity!
  • Broaden your horizons: Embrace various activities across the spectrum of life, be they physical, emotional, mental, and social.
  • Glimmer highlights: Some activities will resonate with you more profoundly than others. Give these priority! They will be very useful on those more difficult days.
  • Sit down and craft your JoyKit: Whether it is a journal, a digital tool, or a vision board, bring your JoyKit to life and let it reflect your personality and tastes.

Pick an activity and try to incorporate it into your day, no matter how busy you are. A walk outside, a chat with a friend, or a tasty treat – these small acts of self-care can help shift your mood and perspective.

The Science Behind It

When you reflect and visualise what brings you joy, your brain starts forging the right neural connections, almost like creating a mental map of happiness. Diversifying these positive experiences further stimulates your brain, enhancing its flexibility and adaptability. Prioritising certain activities strengthens those neural pathways, making these moments more accessible even during tough times. And on top of all that, designing your JoyKit visually adds another dimension—the brain loves visuals! Turning to your Kit isn’t just a comforting act; it’s a scientifically backed strategy to recalibrate your brain and build resilience in the face of challenges.

Pick an activity and try to incorporate it into your day, no matter how busy you are. A walk outside, a chat with a friend, or a tasty treat – these small acts of self-care can help shift your mood and perspective. I encourage you to start creating your JoyKit today and I promise you, you will start noticing how it can boost your overall wellbeing! Always remember – be kind to your mind.