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Joy (noun)

\ ˈjȯi\

1  a  : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of    possessing what one desires : DELIGHT

b   : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : GAIETY

2  : a state of happiness or felicity : BLISS

3  : a source or cause of delight

Have you ever had a day at work that was so great, it is forever etched into your memory? What made that day great? What were the feelings you were left with as you drove home? And what can you do to make that kind of day happen more often?

In a time when we are so focused on patient volumes, patient satisfaction scores, patient outcomes, improving operations, COVID, etc., etc., it is often difficult to remember the good times. But in order to maintain our own sense of well-being and job satisfaction, we need to stop and think about what we loved about medicine in the first place.

One of the best ways to come up with words that describe what is essential to your own well-being is to ask these questions:

  1. What was your best day in medicine?
  2. What word would you use to describe that experience?

Why does this work? First, it calls to mind a day where everything seemed to go right. The patients left happy; the provider was happy. But why? Recalling that day and the feelings that came along with it allows us to determine what we need to seek to do to make more of our days like this.

In a recent Becoming an Emotionally Available Leader seminar, I asked physician and APP leaders these two questions. With their responses, I created word clouds. The word that appeared the most was joy, followed closely by gratitude and purpose. Can you remember a day when you left clinic or the hospital feeling joy? Or gratitude? Or that you had a purpose? What happened on that particular day? How can you recreate it on a regular basis to help improve your own well-being, which will help you to thrive, which will lead to better patient care, which will lead to better outcomes? The goals we are tasked to achieve will organically follow when we are thriving.

In order to thrive going forward, I would suggest you take a moment in the morning to remember the feelings you felt on your very best day. While we can’t control the flow of our day, we can control our mindset and recognize our purpose. And if we can focus on a positive experience from our past and determine our own behavior for the day, our overall experience will be better.

Would you like to know the most common words that came up on the word cloud from the statement, “The emotion I want more of is…”? They were:

  1. Peace
  2. Joy
  3. Serenity
  4. Kindness
  5. Connection
  6. Patience
  7. Empathy

I believe if we could feel more of these emotions on a daily basis and work with the knowledge that we have a purpose, our days can be more joyful. I’d love to have you share the words that describe your best day and the emotion you want more of in the comments.