Increasing your daily joy

Stay-at-home mum of three and occupational therapist RACHEL McFEDRIES has been on a ‘Joy Spotting’ mission lately – intentionally seeking out and taking notice of small pockets of joy.

A few months ago I watched a TED talk that was doing the rounds. In a brightly coloured dress, the speaker, Ingrid Fetell Lee, seemed to radiate joy. She was talking about “where joy hides, and how to find it”, and it really impacted me.

Fetell Lee is a designer who has studied joy and how it is found in our surroundings. She researched the neuroscience behind the emotion of joy – what areas of the brain are activated when viewing more ‘joyful’ objects, and also asked people what they found joy in. She discovered a theme; joy can be found in objects like balloons, bubbles, blossoms, confetti, sprinkles, rainbows and swimming pools; round colourful objects and things that create a feeling of airy lightness. She has named this theme ‘The Aesthetics of Joy’.

I was struck by this concept, because finding joy in the everyday moments as a mother has been something I’ve been seeking. I find that some days of being a stay-at-home Mum can get monotonous, and I sometimes find that I lose a bit of my spark during winter. I needed more joy in my life! Ingrid Fetell Lee encourages people to start intentionally ‘joy spotting’; joining in on social media if you like. In the middle of a grey Canterbury winter, it seemed like a brilliant idea to me!

The very same day I watched her TED talk I was drawn to a brightly coloured pair of pants while op-shopping. I bought them on a whim, even though they were way out of my comfort zone. Wearing them and taking some time to paint my nails, giving myself a fun manicure, I felt a burst of positivity – I had created my own moment of joy.

Other ways I have been noticing and creating joy have been placing my flowering daffodils at my front door, embracing the childlike joy of being goofy with my kids (who just seem to be naturally joyful), dancing in the car to 90s high school hits,  slowing down and being mindful of noticing blossoms and the blue Canterbury skies, and being authentically me. I can say that I’ve felt happier.  I’ve embraced the crazy times with the kids and I’m sure they’re glad that I’m joining in on some of the fart jokes!

As Fetell Lee states: “each moment of joy is small, but over time they add up to more than the sum of their parts”; meaning that over time, the more you mindfully notice each small moment of joy, the happier you’ll be overall.

So what do you think? How can you bring more joy into your life?

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