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Bozeman Health News

Section: News

Finding Joy in Our Work


Dear Bozeman Health Community,

In November, I shared my thoughts about gratitude, and its role as a foundational element in finding true joy. As Christmas and the winter holidays approach, it seems like a good time to ask the question: What is joy, and how can it inform our work?

A strict definition of joy might be “a feeling of pleasure and happiness.” I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion and as a result it is temporary. Joy however is an attitude of the heart, one that comes from the ability to enjoy everyday life and its meaningful moments. Joy is living a life of service, appreciation, thanksgiving, and rejoicing, even through the darkest times.

Joy doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. If the Scandinavians are to be believed, joy is largely attributable to the simplest pleasures: A quiet night by the fire with a warm drink, a long walk in the snow, a cheerful evening with friends around a board game, a movie at home under a warm blanket.

Even though their winters are cold and bleak, the people of Scandinavia have some of the highest happiness rates in the world. Their ability to maintain joy during the coldest season is often attributed to the concept of hygge (pronounced HOO-guh), a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment and wellbeing.

Hygge is not just candles and cinnamon buns. It also includes interpersonal warmth – surrounding yourself with people who share your values, with whom you can discuss the issues and events that are important to you, and with whom you feel safe and valued. It is a sense of intimacy, togetherness and inner warmth. According to a recent magazine article, hygge also incorporates mindfulness: “How to make essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful and beautiful, how to live a life connected with loved ones.”

Much of our work as caregivers involves routine tasks, the things we do every day to care for our patients, their families and our community. Our careful attention to this type of work is what results in exceptional quality, safety and patient experience. In that sense, it is an important part of our Culture of Excellence. It informs the quality of our professional lives, our relationships with one another and our ability to care for the people of Gallatin Valley and beyond.

There is much to be excited about in 2018 and beyond. By embracing the concepts of gratitude and meaning, we can create a joyfulness that will radiate to each other and to the work we do in the community and with individual patients.

So allow me to wish you and your loved ones a joyfulholiday season. Thank you for your hard work this year, and remember that only by taking care of ourselves can we be of true service to others.

My very best - John