So much of the time, we think we can figure out how to experience more joy in our lives just by thinking about it until our eyes cross and our butt gets sore from sitting in one place. But most of the time, if you simply do something about it, you will experience more joy, no heavy thinking required. Today’s “Do This” is all about creating that joy.

Have you ever heard of a brag book? Lots of people recommend them. I learned about them from Michelle Ward, a really amazeballs (to borrow her word) career coach. Basically, a brag book is where you start compiling every nice thing, every accomplishment you’re proud of, every award, every moment of awesomeness you achieve into one place, for easy referral on those days when you’re soul is feeling less than fresh (and more like it’s been ground under the heel of life’s gumboots).

Today’s “Do This” is a variation on this idea–I want you to create a “Laugh File.” You can create a physical one, where you gather books, silly photos of family and friends, favorite funny TV shows and movies, humorous essays, etc. into an actual shoebox that you haul out whenever you need a giggle. You can also make a virtual one, by using a bookmarking site like Pinterest to bookmark your favorite videos, podcasts, photos, essays, etc. onto a board that you can head to whenever you need a mid-day pickmeup.

The purpose of creating a Laugh File is two-fold–it gives you a place to go when you need a laugh and it reminds you that joy is something you can easily curate in your life.

Joy seems really amorphous to us when we’re thinking about it–the typical person’s response to the coachy question, “What brings you joy in your life?” is a prolonged “Ummmmmmmmmm….” followed by “I have no idea.” It’s not just because we live in a world that doesn’t really encourage you to cultivate joy on the regular (although that too, a little bit). It’s because the idea of “cultivating joy” is not something your brain can puzzle out really easily. It’s something you have to do.

So, the next time some well meaning person (maybe yourself even) asks you, “what brings you joy?” you’ll have the answer–cat videos, decorative gourd season, 3 year olds pondering poop, blooper reels, your favorite essay, remembering that time you split your pants, laughing with your best friend so hard that you cried.

Questions of joy aside, laughter is good for you–it released endorphins, relaxes your body, and even helps reduce the production of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. It makes your body feel good and it makes you feel more alive and connected to the world around you.

So, what are you waiting for? Do it! Make a laugh file!

If you make yours on Pinterest, I’d love to see it!

Mine is here. Feel free to follow me.

(“Do This” is a regular feature around here where I tell you that if you do this thing that I am recommending, then your life will be more enjoyable/better/easier/fantastico.)