Do you feel like you’re bombarded with “feel good” media and blogs that are urging you to find happiness, to be happier, to live a happier life?
Do you sit down some days when things have been tough and think, “Why can’t I just be happy?”
Are you constantly searching and striving to find the perfect elixir that will bring life long happiness – perfect job, partner, house, food?
Do you feel like you are failing at being happy?
Well, maybe we are just not looking for it in the right places.
The other day I was watching a TED Talk by Ingrid Fetell Lee and her words and theories really struck me.
While studying design she came across the concept of “Joy”.
“And this was interesting to me because as a culture we are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, and yet in the process, we kind of overlook joy.”
Her realisation was that we should actually be looking for and becoming more aware of ‘joyful’ moments – because in recognising and enjoying these moments, we become happier.
I now challenge you to think of a moment that has brought you JOY.
As you think about that moment, take notice of how this memory is making you feel – corners of your mouth turning up, forehead relaxing, shoulders dropping, maybe a rush of endorphins.
That one small memory of a joyful moment has just made you feel happier. Imagine how you’d feel if you focussed on even more of these moments.
In a blog titled “7 Ways to Create More Joy in Your Life”, Jude Bijou writes, “When we feel joy, we feel great about ourselves. We feel confident, powerful, capable, lovable and fulfilled.” All the things that we want to feel when we reach “happiness”.
One of my favourite analogies that Fetell Lee uses is of confetti – “So, one confetto – which happens to be the singular of confetti,…isn’t really very joyful, but multiply it, and you have a handful of one of the most joyful substances on the planet.” She goes on to talk about the how the use of colour and shape – particularly round and curved objects – can make us feel safe, connected and more joyful. Fetell Lee then discusses the need for more consideration in the design of learning and work spaces to make them more ‘joyful’ rather than ones that hold us back from joy.
I am currently teaching some of my students a song from the musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”. The song is called “Happiness”. When I stopped to think about the lyrics, I realised that they are actually a whole collection of joyful things and moments strung together – pizza with sausage, climbing a tree, learning to whistle, two kinds of ice-cream, walking hand in hand.
Though Charlie Brown and his friends are children, adults shouldn’t be afraid of joy. Fetell says “We all start out joyful, but as we get older, being colourful or exuberant opens us up to judgement. Adults who exhibit genuine joy are often dismissed as childish or too feminine or unserious or self-indulgent, and so we hold ourselves back from joy…”.
Do you find that you hold back your expression of joy?
Do you think this could be holding you back from finding happiness?
As Ingrid Fetell Lee says, “…maybe instead of chasing after happiness, what we should be doing is embracing joy and finding ways to put ourselves in the path of it more often.”
So, this week I challenge you to embrace joy and be more mindful of it. Who knows, you might just become happier.
Happy joy finding!
PS… Here is the full TED Talk by Ingrid Fetell Lee.
PPS… A clip for your joyful viewing 🙂