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Why joy is important to us?

4 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

I t was after months of counseling that I reached a critical conclusion — one that would lead me to let go of my successful business and begin a journey into the unknown.

I needed to prioritize the discipline of joy.

Joy is often thought of as a frivolous and hokey sentiment. It’s a squishy concept lumped with happiness, and together, they frolic in fields and make a regular occurrence in Disney films.

Hardly anyone knows how to speak about joy or make it a priority in life.

So why would I believe joy is necessary for daily life? And why would I give up almost everything I had built just to pursue it?

You could find the answer to this question if you just look around. Today’s society needs more joy, but is cynical about ever experiencing it.

We assume life should always be happy with the occasional blip of sadness. Yet we live in the constant disappointment that life is actually sad with the occasional blip of happiness. Joy is such a far cry from the way most people live their daily lives. People have given up on joy.

But the good news is: joy is possible, even in today’s cynical society. It’s also one of the most important pursuits of our increasingly anxious and disappointed generation.

After studying joy for a full year, I’ve arrived upon 3 reasons why the pursuit of joy is more important than ever.

One of the most surprising finds of my study on joy was that joy and resiliency are two sides of the same coin.

The most joyful people are resilient and the most resilient people are joyful.

The basis of this discovery stems from a study done by Barbara Fredrickson at the University of Michigan. She discovered that positive emotions broaden our mindset which then build our skills. This is labeled as the “Broaden-and-Build” Theory.

This theory has since been expanded to lead to new discoveries. More present research has revealed that positive emotions (such as joy) also help us bounce back from negative experiences. When positive emotions broaden our mindset, they lead individuals to pursue more effective coping mechanisms for negative experiences.

In short, joy helps us bounce back.

When Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, lost her husband unexpectedly, she didn’t expect joy to be the pursuit she leaned into. Yet, in her book, Option B, she described joy as a discipline. In her time of greatest despair, she realized joy was not just happy emotions. Joy gave her the strength to keep showing up, even when times were hard.

We are guaranteed setbacks. But joy is the discipline that helps us come back stronger than ever. And in times when setbacks appear to be more frequent, this is exactly what we need.

If resilience is bouncing back from disturbances, resistance is about being immune to disturbances.

Yes, we will have experiences that shatter us. That’s where resiliency comes into play. But resistance is about never falling victim to the matters that shouldn’t shatter us.

This is a challenge because today’s society is primed to make you feel less joy.

Take the news cycle for example. We are daily fed negative news. And it’s not the news reporters’ fault. Our brains give a higher importance to negative news. This means, to attract our attention, the news cycle has to give us negative news.

But here’s the problem: this constant stream of negative news can lead to major stress in our lives.

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found this to be true when they conducted a recent survey of 2,500 Americans. The survey suggests that 1 in 4 of these Americans reported feeling “a great deal of stress” after watching the news.

The news cycle was just one example. There’s much more than news cycle that contributes to our lack of joy.

As a result, almost 1 in 5 adults struggles with anxiety today. Our society is not conditioned to deliver us joy.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t find it.

In my study on joy, I found that the more language you have around how you experience joy, the more you can summon it on demand. Even if your environment is primed to steer you toward negativity, you can resist and not be a product of your environment.

In 2018, the life expectancy of America dropped for the second year in a row. In a surprising statement from Dr. Steven Woolf, a co-author of this report, there were two causes of this drop: the opioid crisis and despair.

That’s right. Despair in the United States was large enough to drop the life expectancy of the entire nation.

Despair, in Dr. Steven Woolf’s mind, were deaths caused by drugs, alcohol, suicides, etc. The unhappiness of today’s society is literally killing us.

On the other side of despair, there’s joy. Joy makes us healthy, both emotionally and physically.

Take laughter for example. A recent study on laughter revealed that when we laugh with others, we release endorphins in our brain via opioid receptors. What’s astonishing is that these are the same receptors that opioid drugs attach to to provide a euphoric feeling. This suggests we can enter into a state of euphoria similar to an opioid drug (without the negative setbacks) by simply laughing.

Laughter can also increases the quality of our relationships, which keeps us both emotionally and physically healthier by just being around people.

Without practicing the discipline of joy, we fall susceptible to all sorts of health concerns such as loneliness, numbing, and anxiety. This goes to show, if you want to live a holistic healthy lifestyle, you don’t just need to go to the gym. You need to practice joy.

People favor happiness. But should happiness be our priority over joy? It’s my conclusion that it shouldn’t.

Happiness is a fleeting emotion based on external circumstances. If you’re laughing with friends, you have both happiness and joy.

But joy is an internal positivity that’s connected to hope. It’s the feeling that everything will turn out okay. With joy, you don’t have to put on a happy face. You can be joyful in the midst of the toughest situations.

This is something society today hasn’t grasped. We chase after euphoric feelings of happiness without building the foundation of joy that can help us weather storms much better.

Firoz Mansoor
Answer # 2 #

“We all have everything we need within us to create our fullest potential.” ~Abraham Maslow

Did you grow up with a critical, distant, or ignorant mother?

She probably made sure that your physical needs were covered, but she never noticed or understood your emotional needs. If she was anything like my mum, she may even have shamed you for having them!

You’re an adult now, and you have everything you need to be happy. So why aren’t you? Instead, you feel unworthy, disconnected, and lonely even when you’re with people you love. There’s this constant emptiness inside that makes you angry and sad at the same time.

Maybe you still long for a loving mother like you did when you were young, hoping that one day she’ll show up, or maybe you’ve given up hope that your mother will ever change.

Either way, she left open wounds inside your entire being—invisible traces of the trauma that you sustained. And you need to heal these wounds so that you can rediscover your true nature, activate your full potential, and live a life of your choice—a life filled with joy.

Healing is crucial for your health—mental, physical and spiritual alike. The good news is, you don’t have to live in misery waiting for the “perfect” day to start being happy. In fact, bringing more joy into your life now will help you heal.

Think about it this way: Joy is like the sun that eats away grey clouds and opens up the skies. Everything it touches brightens up and fills with the energy of growth.

Joy helps minimize the stress of the fight-or-flight reactions that you grew accustomed to because of to your traumatic past. It activates positive patterns in your brain instead, helping you heal and thrive.

Just like it helped me.

I was thirty-one when I made the life-changing decision to move abroad, far away from the stress of the strained relationship with my mum. On the outside, I was a confident adult woman, the mother of a seven-year-old boy. But inside, I felt like a scared little girl longing for a safe place to hide.

Moving to a new country brought much positive change into my life. But, like nearly everything in life, with the good came a challenge.

Running from my narcissistic mum, I left behind everything I knew—everything I had built in my life. I also left Mum alone with my dear sick father in the age before the Internet, when international phone calls could bite holes in a family budget. What I wanted was a break from the pain inflicted by Mum’s behaviour, but I never stopped worrying about her and my dad.

I swapped my career in one of the country’s best medical centers for the life of a housewife, surrounded by strangers who spoke a language I didn’t understand. I uprooted my little boy and brought him to an unfamiliar place far away. We both felt like two survivors who had landed on another planet, and I needed all my strength just to stop myself from falling apart.

So how did I step beyond merely surviving, and begin to thrive? By making a conscious decision to live in the now and enjoy what I have.

As simple as it seemed, it was a challenge in itself. You see, Mum taught me that life was serious business, and neither fun nor joy belonged there. Fortunately, the healthy part inside of me knew what I needed: to master another “foreign” language—the language of joy. Fortunately, I listened.

“Even when you didn’t have the mother you needed, there’s a place inside your heart that totally knows how to love.” ~Jette Simon, psychotherapist

So, there I was, learning to enjoy mundane chores like vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms—what could be less joyful than that? But I would turn on MTV, sing along, and swing my hips to the tunes blazing out of the big black box of a TV we had back then. And that simple trick drizzled my life with positivity, helping me to turn boring, everyday stuff into pleasurable activities.

After that small success, I learned to seek and find joy in everything I did.

You may be unable to change every challenging circumstance of your life, but you can bring more balance to your emotional inner world.

Being a food lover, I experimented with local recipes, enjoying tickles of creativity and sharing the results.

My mother-in-law, Kirsten, who called me every day, clearly cared about us. Unfortunately, we didn’t speak a common language, and I needed something to make those conversations come alive. So, I made a list of the stuff I was usually doing—I’m vacuuming, reading, helping my son with his homework, and so on—and my husband translated it for me. This list became not only my first lesson in Danish, but it also brought joy to our connection and deepened our relationship.

I loved spending quality time with my son with no stress attached and enjoyed the growing feeling of closeness between us. I did my best to help him cope with new people and our new life, and in turn, he helped me.

I enjoyed my time alone, too—a walk with the dog (another language to learn!), sunbathing on the terrace, or reading a book. For the first time in my life, I could sit there doing nothing, and no one would criticize me for being “lazy” as Mum used to!

Spice up your daily activities to expand a flow of positivity and minimize reactivity patterns.

Looking back, I clearly see that I learned to be in the moment, pay attention to what I was doing, and do it with joy.

Gradually, my overall mood began to improve, and I could see my life in a brighter light. Each day started to look more like an adventure, with endless possibilities for joy presenting themselves.

It didn’t heal my trauma, of course, but it helped me get the best out of a turbulent time of change and prepared me for a healing journey.

The chronic stress of developmental trauma has a long-lasting impact on the brain. Overloaded with negative bias, some parts of your brain are overwhelmed and “acting out,” while others are numb, taken out of the game. You need to calm the loud ones and reactivate those that have gone quiet. By doing so, you re-center yourself and find a healthier emotional balance.

When you laugh, have fun, or simply enjoy the moment, troubles and worries step aside, and you enter another realm where you feel connected, safe, and loved.

Joy is inside you as a natural part of your true being. You simply need to find and reconnect with it.

Here’s how you can increase your ability to feel joy.

Put in words what you’re struggling with, why, and how it’s negatively impacting you—not to punish anyone but to clarify the challenge. Remember, denial keeps you stuck, but acknowledging things for what they are opens doors for personal growth, healing, and joy.

Now, knowing where you stand, ask yourself what you want your life to be and what you can do to get there. Possibilities for moving forward always exist; even small steps will take you closer to your goal.

Either too much or too little control means co-dependency. Many people try to overcontrol their lives. To overcome this, let go of things that are beyond your control, like changing other people. Instead, focus more on self-growth.

In other cases, people allow their circumstances to dictate their lives, resulting in too little control or even no control at all. If that’s the case for you, it means taking matters into your own hands. Start with easier things like taking care of your well-being and choosing things that bring you joy. After that, work on saying no and building and defending strong boundaries.

To achieve a peaceful and joyful state, you must first learn to tolerate your difficult emotions. It’s not easy, but staying with your grief, anger, or shame can turn things around and free space for positive emotions. If you push these difficult feelings away, they will almost certainly eat you alive. Do you want to miss out on all the good stuff in life? I didn’t think so.

Validate your feelings instead of suppressing them, denying them, or pushing them away. You have the right to all of them! How could you not be angry, sad, or in mourning when you grew up without the loving mother you longed for as a child?

Working through painful feelings on your own can be tough, so ask your partner, a friend, or a therapist to support you during this time.

Did you know that multitasking is one of the biggest enemies of joy? It’s true! Taking on multiple tasks at once keeps your mind and body overloaded, and it’s impossible to enjoy yourself when you’re constantly changing activities. Focusing on one thing, on the contrary, allows joy to surface and bloom.

Nobody is happy or relaxed all the time, but you can learn the skills and techniques to calm yourself when you need to. By doing so, you help your brain build more positive connections and open up for joy.

Mindfulness and mediation are two excellent techniques that help you to slow down and focus on the moment. If sitting silently cross-legged on a cushion isn’t for you, don’t worry, there are other ways to get the benefits of these practices. Anything that helps you focus, pay attention, and be present will do the trick.

No matter what you do, get completely involved in it. Even when you do something out of necessity, it’s possible to find joy in the action. Fully engaging in everything you do helps you discover new, exciting sides to boring stuff from your to-do list. And sometimes, adding fun to dull, repetitive activities like washing the dishes or waiting for the bus solves the problem and awakens joy.

Social connections bring lots of joy into your life, even if you’re just connecting on Zoom. Help people, or share something with them—a cup of coffee, a smile, or a passion of yours. For example, I like to bake, and blend facial tonics and creams; it helps me relax. But sharing my passions with others is what brings me profound satisfaction and joy.

And the effect stays for days and weeks—I promise!

More joy means lower levels of inflammation in your body, better health, and greater happiness. You’re no longer a prisoner of your emotions and can consciously choose where you want to use your energy and how.

Activating joy helps you reconnect with an authentic, wise part inside of you that knows how to love. It means finally feeling like yourself and safe inside your skin—no matter what traumas you have endured throughout your life.

“Every moment, if it’s really inside of you, brings you what you need.” ~Rumi

Choose joy!

ltgmk Zaidan
Answer # 3 #

In one of my recent coaching sessions, my client had a revelation that much of her self-perceived negative behaviours boiled down to one thing; a lack of pleasure and joy in her life. A lack of attention to creating consciously pleasurable experiences in one’s life is a common phenomenon I see with my clients, and especially with women who are primary caregivers within their families. By the time they have taken care of everyone else, there’s a level of overwhelm or exhaustion that precedes the prioritization of pleasure and joy.

It’s important to note that pleasure and happiness are not the same. Pleasure is produced when dopamine is released in the brain. It is the “feel good” neurotransmitter which is why people continue to chase it. Happiness is produced when serotonin is released in the brain.

While similar, the differences between pleasure and happiness are listed below:



Human nature drives us to actively seek out experiences that bring us happiness/joy, but when you’re grinding it out with work, family etc. It can be hard to keep track of that and then we’re left with a significant amount of people who aren’t feeling joy in their lives anymore.

This may seem like it comes from a privileged lens, however, how many times have you caught yourself judging a panhandler for using the money to get high (assuming this is what they are going to do with it), or a struggling single mom for getting her hair done when you “thought money was tight”?

Why is joy important?

There's research to prove that joy boosts our immune systems, fights stress and pain, and improves our chance of living a longer life.

Being joyful could quite literally add years to life!

1. Joy makes us resilient

The most joyful people are resilient and the most resilient people are joyful.

The basis of this theory stems from a study done by Barbara Fredrickson at the University of Michigan. She discovered that positive emotions broaden our mindset which then builds our skills. This is labelled as the “Broaden-and-Build” Theory.

2. Joy makes us resistant

We will have experiences that seemingly break us and that’s where resiliency comes in. Resistance is about never falling victim to the scenarios that shouldn’t break us. Even in an environment that steers you toward negativity, you can resist and not be a product of that environment.

3. Joy makes us healthy

Without practicing the discipline of joy, we fall susceptible to all sorts of health concerns such as loneliness, numbing, and anxiety. This goes to show, if you want to live a holistic healthy lifestyle, you don’t just need to go to the gym. You need to practice joy.

I want to highlight that I started off sharing elements of happiness and joy as one, however they are not the same. Happiness is fleeting and often based on external circumstances. But joy is an internal positivity that’s connected to hope. It’s a sense that everything will turn out okay. With joy, you don’t have to put on a happy face. You can be joyful in the midst of the toughest situations. You cultivate joy.

In sessions with my clients, we often talk about cultivating joy and one of the easiest ways is getting more present to the simplicity of present moments. When I gave one of my clients the homework of noticing when she felt joy in her week, she reported back saying she felt a bit silly at the time she felt the most joy; it was after a particularly hectic evening that included yelling at the kids to get to bed. When her youngest resisted the regular routine, she paused and took the time to get present with him and snuggle. She said that feeling him soften against her and snuggle in while he told her about his day was the purest joy she’d noticed in a long time.

The joy occurred because she’d made the space to notice and be present to it. Presence was the key.

Getting present to those elements of joy all around you make space for you to savour and expand on that emotional state. The more it expands, the more easily you’ll be able to access it in challenging moments.

Beyond all the positive impacts joy has on your emotional system, it also affects your body in positive ways (of course it does!). Besides the straightforward promotion of a healthier lifestyle, it also boosts the immune system, fights stress & pain and supports longevity.

1. Your Brain

As mentioned above, when something you perceive as happy happens, your brain receives the signal to release dopamine and serotonin into your central nervous system (which consists of your brain and spinal cord). This then causes reactions in other bodily systems.

2. Your circulatory system

Your circulatory system consists of your heart, veins, blood vessels, blood, and lymph. Of course, joy isn’t the only emotion that affects this system (fear, sadness, and other emotions can cause reactions in these parts of the body as well).

3. Your autonomic nervous system

This bodily system is responsible for all the things your body does without conscious effort from you, like breathing, digestion, and dilation of the pupil; this system is also affected by feelings of joy.

When a person goes through burnout, it often seems like joy is so far away from the current experience, but by applying a few simple techniques to your life, which do take patience and commitment, it’s really about the understanding that your time and joy is just as worthwhile as everyone else’s.

Begin applying these simple strategies find your way back to yourself.

1. Prioritize your Self

If you truly want to overcome your burnout, you’ve got to start by learning how to put yourself back at the top of your list; something that doesn’t come naturally to us all.

2. Nurture your relationships

Surrounding yourself with others who reciprocate can be helpful in assisting you to regenerate. By reaching out to nurture the relationships you have, you’re boosting your ability to deal with stress and overcoming burnout.

3. Take time off

It’s not always possible to bolt for a month or two, however, what you can do is unplug, and take a little time away for you to seek the well-being that you need in order to feel joy again.

4. Get mindful

As you practice mindfulness more frequently, you'll improve your capacity to center yourself. Cultivating joy multiplies when you develop your inner resources by devoting time to them. As you progress, feelings of calm and satisfaction will become a more permanent part of your being.

5. Reconnect With Meaning

Reconnecting with the meaning that brings us authentic and fulfilling joy is one of the ways of overcoming burnout. We can do this by rediscovering those elements which bring us confidence, self-esteem or even just small moments of fleeting pleasure. It doesn’t matter what it is that gives our lives meaning; that’s a process that can only be defined by you and you alone.

Joy, like attention, is an intention, cultivation, and a practice. It is both a capacity we all have and one that can be trained and developed. I’d love to know whether this has inspired you to intentionally seek out more joy!

Yuria Schermer
Running Crew
Answer # 4 #

There's research to prove that joy boosts our immune systems, fights stress and pain, and improves our chance of living a longer life. Joy is defined as a great sense of happiness and pleasure.

Khushboo scyn