Last year was challenging for everyone around the world, and now that it is (almost) behind us, there’s a lot of talk of getting back to normal. For some, “normal” isn’t just about returning to the simple things like going to a crowded baseball game or to a concert. It’s also about resuming the inner peace that has been damaged and disrupted. Waiting for things to naturally improve may seem like a reasonable route, but it really isn’t. Life will always be complicated in big and small ways, but that shouldn’t keep you from searching for happiness and joy in everyday life. Once you start your search, you’ll find it is not only freeing, but free!
Looking for joy? Just open your eyes.
“Joy flows from the inside out. It’s as if something inside of me bubbles up and it flows or erupts out of my heart. Joy allows me to endure hardship and push through whatever may be weighing on my shoulders.”
—Josliene Miller, BAYADA Division Director
While pursuing happiness, we often overlook joy. While used interchangeably, happiness and joy are two different, but related things. Happiness is measured by how good we feel over time, while joy is an intense momentary feeling of positive emotions that might make us smile, laugh, and jump up and down. In other words, happiness is more a long-term series of emotions while joy is a short-term burst that can add up over time into something more if you let it.
In order to find joy, you have to open your eyes to the world around you. This means you must become more attuned to your normal, everyday surroundings as you go through your day. This includes people too. Whether you’re surprised by an unexpected hairdo or a seemingly magical scene in your neighborhood, once you begin to focus you’ll find joy everywhere you look.
What is Joyspotting?
“We started doing Joyspotting to kick off our weekly team meetings. It’s been a great way to start each meeting, having each person share photos and videos of things that brought them joy that week. Not only has it been uplifting for the sharer, it’s been a shot of happiness to the entire team to see the joyful pictures and learn a little bit more about each other."
—Gary Wong, BAYADA Division Director
Joyspotting, a method pioneered by Ingrid Fetell Lee, is a simple practice of tuning your attention to the joy in your surroundings. It’s easy and can be done in just a few seconds. And the best part? The more you do it, the more joy you’ll start noticing all on your own.
“It was like I had a pair of rose-colored glasses, and now that I knew what to look for, I was seeing it everywhere. It was like these little moments of joy were hidden in plain sight,” said Ingrid as she described joyspotting in her TED talk.
The big question is, why does joyspotting work? According to Ingrid, “one reason might have to do with what positivity researchers call upward spirals. It turns out that emotions have feedback loops: when we feel a burst of joy, it makes us more attentive to joy in our surroundings and more likely to engage in behaviors that help us find more joy, such as interacting with other people or doing an activity we love.”
5 tips for a happier life
"Joyspotting is finding time every day even if it’s just for a quick moment to do something that gives you happiness. My husband and I slow dance in our kitchen every night!"
—Gina M. Teasdale, BAYADA Director of Senior Living (pictured right with her husband)
Like the ongoing search for joy, there are ways to find happiness in your life too, particularly when it comes to the simple things. A good time to begin your search is at the start of your day, and it will lead to a grateful heart. So much of what fuels happiness lies in “gratitude,” which is the quality of being thankful along with the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness to others.
Five great tips to help you get started in leading a happier life with a grateful heart include:
1) Take time to yourself. Sometimes you may not feel like there is not enough time in a day, but remember you are no good to anyone if you’re not happy and feeling your best self.
2) Make a list of things you are grateful for. Take a minute to write down or just think about it.
3) Plan to do at least one random act of kindness that day. This does not require much but it can really impact someone’s day and when you feel the joy that you have given them, it makes you feel even happier.
4) Prepare the night before for the next day. That might sound frustrating to some, but if you take 15 minutes at night to prep for the next day you will have even more space for your morning gratitude.
5) Don’t give up. So many people beat themselves up, and ultimately, STOP everything they were doing because they feel like they failed. Stay strong and keep going.
Try joyspotting today!
When you’re happier and more joyful it can positively improve both your personal life and career. It’s understandable if you’re skeptical of a new approach like joyspotting, but the benefits are numerous. For those considering taking the plunge for the first time, here’s some advice from Ingrid to hold onto:
“If you’ve never tried joyspotting, no need to wait. Simply look around and keep an eye out for something that brings you joy. Try it today on your commute, while walking the dog, even just staring out the window from your desk at work. I’ve also heard from families who go joyspotting together on the way to school in the mornings.”
Joy is everywhere, and once you find yours, you’ll want more.