Do something that brings you JOY

Do something that brings you joy

The ‘Joyful Flower Dude’. Design by Jane Hunt

The ‘Joyful Flower Dude’. Design by Jane Hunt

GYMK Poster Checklist PHOTO.jpg

Number 6 on our Checklist for Your Mind: do something that brings you joy. So, we ask you out there — what brings you joy? Not happiness. Joy. At Grow Your Mind we are about embracing ALL emotions. We consistently tell children, their parents and their teachers that while being happy is a comfortable emotion, the aim of our organisation is NOT to promote happiness. It would be unrealistic, unfair and not terribly interesting if that is what we were all about. In fact, we would be setting ourselves up and the rest of you for failure.

We do however invite young and old to do something daily that brings them joy. In a similar fashion as a parent you might encourage your child to drink a glass of water or brush their teeth as you know that is good for their physical health. You don’t necessarily demand and control the rest of the things that go into your child’s body after this. However, at a minimum, you cover the bases of preventative physical health. We also encourage you to take note of what brings you and your children joy and to foster it occurring on a daily basis — on the grounds of boosting good mental health.

The magic of joy from a mental health point of view is that it is one of the key ‘positive’ emotions within the inspiring research by Dr Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson has studied the impact of positive emotions on our ability to problem solve, connect with others and to bounce back after adversity. The studies are uplifting and promising, with Fredrickson stating that positive emotions, “…literally change the boundaries of our minds, our hearts and change our outlook”.

One area of Fredrickson’s research we love to spotlight is her Broaden and Build Theory. The underlying idea of this theory is that positive emotions play an essential role in our survival. This is due to the fact that when people experience positive emotions, their minds broaden, they open up to new possibilities and ideas and they are more able to problem solve and be a flexible thinker. Fredrickon uses the analogy of a water lily in early dawn.

A lily’s world view before the light hits it fully

A lily’s world view before the light hits it fully

Without much sunlight the lily’s world view is small. As the sun hits the flower, its petals spread out as does it’s view of the world around it. The sunlight signifies the role of positive emotions on our brain. Fredrickson’s research highlights the fact that from doctors to school children taking a test — people do better when they are experiencing a positive emotion.

A lily’s world view once the sun hits it

A lily’s world view once the sun hits it

How do you take note and create more joy?

  1. Make a list of the things that bring you joy: Stick it up somewhere you see often, what on the list could you do daily?

  2. Ask the people around you what brings them joy: Perhaps you will get inspiration from them and if not you are making a connection with someone which we all know is great for our mental health

  3. Think of a happy memory before you take your next test, do public speaking etc: Be curious, did it help?

FYI — what brings the co-founders of Grow Your Mind joy?

Alice — being with my dog, actually seeing peoples faces who spot my dog (he is really ridiculous and gorgeous looking. A long run on the coastline followed by a dip in the sea. An impromptu dance or sing off in the kitchen with my family. Sharing a meal with my closest friends.

Kristina: singing on my own, singing with my sisters, singing with friends. Oh and snorkelling, it is an instant joy bringer! Reading the paper in bed — perhaps that is more of a dream of the past now with two young children… Dinner with friends and family, yoga, dancing — just thinking of it all brings me joy!

Alice Peel