SLOAN COLUMN: What are the things that bring you joy?
I’m hoping this week’s column will put a great big smile on your face.
Today, June 24, is the National Day of Joy. We can sure use one of those about right now, huh?
The inaugural National Day of Joy was celebrated last year. Comfort Keepers, a provider of in-home care for seniors and other adults, is the sponsor of the National Day of Joy. As part of the first National Day of Joy, Comfort Keepers released the results of its National State of Joy survey, which polled Americans on what brings the most joy into their lives. The survey found that people with the greatest levels of joy are older, with those over 60 averaging higher levels of joy than 18-29 year olds and those 45-60.
According to the Comfort Keepers’ web site, the National Day of Joy “is about finding joy in everyday moments. Too often, the pursuit of joy is relegated to the background of people’s lives as they tackle their day-to-day responsibilities. But finding joy, no matter your age, is important for maintaining your physical health, mental health, and overall well-being.”
The site also explains the health benefits of experiencing joy.
“When you experience joy, you can’t help but wear a smile on your face and allow yourself to laugh – which is literally great medicine for your body. The Mayo Clinic reports that, physiologically, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen and stimulates your heart, lungs and organs. Laughter also releases endorphins into your brain, relieves your stress response and soothes tension. Beyond a quick pick-me-up, finding joy and laughter improves your immune system by reducing negative thoughts that can increase stress and decrease the body’s immune response. Finding joy also helps to improve mood, ease anxiety and even helps to lessen depression.”
In short, feeling joyful is good for your mind, body and soul.
Comfort Keepers wants the National Day of Joy to spur people to pursue simple acts of joy. This got me to thinking about what brings me joy. As I thought about it, several things immediately came to mind:
• Hearing my daughter say, “I love you, diddy!”
• Spending time with the grands.
• Snuggling with my honey.
• Tossing the Frisbee with my black lab.
• Cubs baseball.
• Grilling out.
• Watching “The Office.”
• The beach.
• Serving God by helping others.
Just so I’ve got things straight with the “Big Man” upstairs, these are in no particular order. That last one, the one about serving others, is particularly important. It has been my experience that bringing joy to others will in turn bring you joy.
So whatever it is that brings you a sense of joy, spend some time doing it today. Heck, set aside some “joy time” every day. And make sure to go out and spread a little joy. You’ll be better for it and the world will be too!