What is joy and how do you find it?

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more in life there is to celebrate”

(- Oprah Winfrey)

My son had a birthday party recently.

It was screams and cake. Canon balls into the swimming pool and presents. Laughter and noise and energy and…connectedness.

It was a celebration.

Of a year gone by.

And, a year to come.

It was unabashed joy.

What is joy?

The only reason I can answer that question is because the strangest thing happened yesterday.

A friend sent me a TED talk on joy.

72 minutes later I turned on the radio, and a band was describing the reasons they’d chosen to write a song about joy.

[Yes, Universe, I am listening.]

What is it that you want us to hear? To do? To believe?

Perhaps it’s that you want us to know that joy is what we discover in the present moment vs. happiness…which is a feeling over time.

When psychologists use the word joy, what they mean is an intense, momentary experience of positive emotion — one that makes us smile and laugh and feel like we want to jump up and down. And this is actually a technical thing. That feeling of wanting to jump up and down is one of the ways that scientists measure joy. It’s different than happiness, which measures how good we feel over time. Joy is about feeling good in the moment, right now. 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. – Ingrid Fetell Lee Where Joy Hides and How to Find It | TED talk

Perhaps it’s that you want us to live awake and with intention. To “…put ourselves in the path of joy more often” as Ingrid Fetell Lee explains.

And, there’s no doubt…you want us to believe in JOY. That intense, momentary feeling of positive emotion.

For me…these moments of joy come in many forms. But after this week I’ve started to notice them a little bit more: 

  • An ideal parking place
  • A cuddle from my son
  • A high-quality ice cream
  • A hot cup of coffee
  • Seeing a friend in the hallway at work
  • Trusting a colleague
  • Welcoming my husband home after a trip
  • Seeing the sun rise
  • Settling into a good book after a long day

Feel no guilt about joy.

Grab these moments and savor them.

They are the lifeblood to our soul.



  1. Any: After talking with you, I started following you. I look forward to receiving your posts every Sunday. Your messages seem to be so timely to my life situation. It reaffirms the importance of joy and choice in any situation. It makes me even more strongly hope the right opportunity presents itself to work with you and your colleagues. You inspire me. Thank you,

    1. What a lovely comment, Deborah. When we talked, you struck me as a person who truly lives with joy and is always open to seeing where circumstances lead you, whatever they may be. I’m so glad I can be an encourager on your journey!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...