Hi! get your joy
What’s with all the joy?
I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about, working on and writing to you about joy. The science-y reasons for that are best summarized in an article on the NIH website:
“Research shows that daily experiences of awe, curiosity, gratitude, joy, and love can put the average person on a trajectory of growth, success, and positive social connection, and can also prevent those who are suffering from following a downward spiral. Nonetheless, data show that most people are not functioning at optimal capacity. In fact, just 20% of people may be categorized as “flourishing,” with the vast majority of people merely “languishing,” at risk for mental health issues, or with clinical levels of mental health concerns.”
I’m interested in flourishing, how about you?
And, as Corey Robinson put it on The Resilience Think Tank in June, “Joy is an unlimited, inexhaustible resource.” So I went out to find it. I’ve written to you about how I spent one surprise evening all by myself experiencing joy, and I took a vacation to find more.
As always, I want to make these emails easy to grab onto and actionable for you. So here is a breakdown of the science of joy from Harvard, NIH and a few other reliable sources:
- Joy is primarily mediated by these brain chemicals: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins
- Anything that raises those chemicals will clock as “joy” improving your mental health
- Time isn’t the point – even quick doses of these (and even in the midst of struggle and stress) will help you!
What can you do to raise any of those good chemicals in your brain, even for a moment? Here are just several ideas:
- Touch someone you love who loves you back
- Pet an animal
- Sing along or dance to music that feels good
- Create art
- Exercise til you’re a little out of breath
- Volunteer in a way that helps someone else
What brings you on-demand joy? Hit reply and tell me! We need a pretty long list these days.
All my best,