Engaging the mind with the awareness that God is the Source of all that is good is a means, then, of increasing your joy in this life.
In early Jewish history, the berachot were not standardized. However, after the Babylonian conquest, the Men of the Great Assembly (Anshei Knesset HaGedolah) codified the berachot in order to help unify the Jewish experience. In the Jewish tradition it is generally considered bad form to spontaneously compose your own bracha.
The Anshei Knesset HaGedolah identified three general types of berachot:
- Birkhot hanehenim - Recited before enjoying a material pleasure (such as eating, drinking, smelling something pleasant, etc.) For example, "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Who brings forth bread from the earth," recited when partaking of bread.
- Birkhot ha-mitzvot - Recited in gratitude for the privilege of being given a commandment (mitzvah) to perform (for example, "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to hear the sound of the Shofar").
- Birkhot hoda'ah - Blessings of praise and gratitude, usually recited at special times and events.