Book Review of "Loving My Actual Christmas"

Book Review: The Joy Plan

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Hi, my Shortie friends! If you’ve followed me on FB or IG, then you have probably seen lots of hashtags about mindfulness and the joy plan. #thejoyplan is referring to a book I read recently, written by Kaia Roman. I heard about it by following Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama- you know, the author I’m obsessed with!). So if RMS says to read this book, then I go and read this book. ? And it did NOT disappoint.

Book Review of "The Joy Plan" www.theshortesttallman.comThe Joy Plan is both a memoir and a guide to finding real and true joy in your life. Kaia (I can say that because we’re IG buddies now hehe) found herself in a dark place in her life and pulled herself out by simply living in joy for 30 days. Yup, it was pretty much that simple. Not easy- but simple! Those thirty days transformed her life, and left a lasting practice of living fully in joy that I am totally trying to steal.

Kaia’s writing style is approachable. She’s down to earth, she shares her triumphs and her struggles in her experiment, and she backs everything up with scientific evidence. “It’s science” (read that in Ron Burgundy’s voice). I L-O-V-E that she keeps referring back to the biology of the brain. You mean to tell me it’s not all in my head, but that it’s literally all in my head? That changes everything! ???

So one of the major tenets of her book is that the more you think something, the more you hardwire the brain to think that way- so this can either work for you or against you. Kaia trained her brain to think positively for 30 days, and the outcome was to a life she could never imagine for herself. Was it just that she was looking at things in a new light? Or were things actually changing for the better? Would things have happened that way anyway? (Does it actually matter?)

My BFF and I read The Joy Plan together and now we’re working on our very own joy plan experiment for our own lives. Within a very short time, I already saw results. Paired with my newfound love of yoga, experimenting with aromatherapy via essential oils, and making sure I spend time on my own wellness (hello, creative outlet a.k.a. my blog!), I am on the happy express!

Did you know that there is a difference between happiness and joy? Kaia explains that happiness is “a cognitive experience, a state of mind that exists in our conscious awareness,” whereas joy “is an emotion, a subconscious feeling that occurs without thought (page 14)”. I don’t know about you, but I certainly did not know that. And it changes everything to realize that. “Joy involves little cognitive awareness… [it] is an internal feeling that disregards circumstances… and it is often associated with spiritual experiences” (page 14). That’s the kind of groovy vibes I’m shooting for!

Practically speaking, The Joy Plan is part memoir, part guide to creating your own personal joy plan. Roman offers tips throughout the book, as well as a comprehensive appendix on how to do this in your own life. She openly shares her successes and missed moments in her journey, as well as lots of research I mentioned earlier to back up her approach. After reading The Joy Plan, I felt that not only could I make a joy plan, it could actually work! This book has quite a few, “aha!” moments that I am so thankful for. A life filled with joy… yup, that’s what I’ve been searching for. I spent my whole life up to this point trying to cross items off the life to-do list, and now I’ve got sunshine in my pocket and that good soul in my feet, and all the heart eyes my hard drive can handle! ?

If you find yourself feeling any range of negative thoughts (anxiety, anger, depression, fear, doubt) too often, I urge you to check out The Joy Plan. Even if on paper your life is sunshine and roses. That doesn’t mean that you’re feeling joy the way you ought to, the way you deserve to. And you deserve to!

You can probably find The Joy Plan at any major book retailer, or you can buy it here.

Want to read a few of Kaia’s blog posts?

You deserve joy, and you deserve joy, and you deserve joy!


Have you read The Joy Plan? What did you think? Do you already feel a sense of true joy regularly, like Kaia Roman explained, or do you find yourself stuck with “mere” happiness?