“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.”
— Robert Murray McCheyne
Seth Godin, a world-renown marketer and blogger, once stated “Recent changes in the way that things are made and talked about means that big is no longer an advantage. In fact, it’s the opposite. If you want to be big, act small.”
Often when people think of joy or happiness, they believe they have to experience it in big amounts, but what if joy can be experienced in small amounts and still have a profound effect?
I’ve personally found that experiencing joy in small doses often gives me enough boost to be more productive, more resilient, and have greater energy.
According to Dr. Earl Henslin, author of This is Your Brain on Joy – shares that multiple studies show that there are many health benefits to joy, including increased blood flow to the brain and overall improvement of your immune system.
It also helps us to experience greater alignment with ourselves, others and our work. It can help us be in a calmer state to make difficult decisions.
Yet why is it hard to find joy and keep it?
There are external factors in our world, especially in 2020. Often when we’re focused on outside circumstances, it can hide things that bring us joy.
There are also internal factors – such as anxiety, worry, automatic negative thoughts, as well as not using our strengths and having lack of meaning in our life.
Any of these can rob and hide our joy. The good news is with little effort you can start getting your joy back more quickly than you think, and then train your brain to find more of it.
1 – Seize Your Joy. Seizing your joy is first recognizing what your definition of joy is. What brings me joy might be different for you.
Having a list on hand of what brings you joy takes the work out of thinking of what to do. My coach calls it her Bliss List, and each day she looks on her list and decides what she will do.
Remember that while joy is pleasant while experiencing it, it is often inconvenient. So make a commitment, schedule it on your calendar, even if it’s starting with 5 minutes a day.
Here is a list of simple ideas to get you started:
- Read an inspiring book
- Have a meaningful conversation
- Share or collaborate on a new idea
- Take a walk in nature
- Play with a pet
2 – Savor the Joy. Back in the late 80’s Big Red Gum had a campaign called ‘A little longer’. The main lyrics were...
“So kiss a little longer
Laugh a little longer
Stay close a little longer
Longer with Big Red…"
If you’re old enough to remember this catchy tune, you also remember the idea was to make the flavor of chewing gum last longer.
When we experience something that gives us joy, we often get a burst and feeling of joy but it quickly fades away. We can learn to savor our joy which allows us to experience the joy a little longer.
Professor Santos, a psychologist at Yale describes savoring as the act of stepping outside of an experience to review and appreciate it. Often we fail to stay in the moment and really enjoy what we’re experiencing.
Savoring intensifies and lengthens the positive emotions that come with doing something you love.
3 – Share your joy. There are many people in the world today struggling with having joy. You might be experiencing this too. If so, know you’re not alone, even happy and positive have difficult days. It's how quickly they bounce back that matters.
We can expand our joy and make it bigger by sharing it with others. Share what brings you joy with someone then ask them what brings them joy.
There are times when I feel like I’m playing hide-and-seek with my joy. The truth is I have to train my brain to seek it out.
Once we train ourselves to know what it looks like, then we’ll find more of it.
If you found this helpful, please consider sharing this to someone else (we could all use a little more joy).
If you are someone who loves to help and support others (yes that includes 'over-helpers') and want to grow and get started on your bold ideas, join my Unleash Your Inner Bold Facebook Community.
Barbara Gustavson, owner of Discover Next Step, equips people to develop their unique gifts and give themselves permission to step into their true calling in life. Barbara is a certified Personal Development and Leadership Trainer and Amen Clinic Brain Health Coach. She is the author of Permission to be BOLD and co-author of Breaking Average: The Seven Critical Factors to Team Strong Leadership.