The Importance of Joy

It is surprising how smart women often underestimate or take for granted the importance of joy.

importance of joy - knit donuts
My daughters knit these donuts. They bring me joy.

I meet a lot of talented women who are successful. Whether they are childless executives, business owners, or stay-at-home moms, they are good at what they do. The people around them thrive. Yet, they are exhausted and not having much fun.

“Is this all there is?” they ask.

This isn’t surprising. Smart and caring women are asked to take on a lot of responsibilities.

You work hard and are hard on yourself. You have high expectations and you meet them.

So what’s joy got to do with it?

What I’ve Learned about the Importance of Joy

Over the years, working with my coaching clients, I saw how spending time on enjoyable activities not only boosts your mood but it also has many spillover effects. For example, experiencing joy can help you…

  • Set the right goals and meet them
  • Embark on new and exciting projects
  • Make a lasting changes, and
  • Figure out what they want to do with their lives

Here is why:

1. Joy is not frivolous

It helps us be more productive, giving us boosts of energy. It helps us make decisions as well as surprising connections.

2. Joy has lasting effects on our well-being

In Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, Ingrid Fetell Lee notes:

The power of the aesthetics of joy is that they speak directly to our unconscious minds, bringing out the best in us without our being aware of it.

3. Joy helps us discern

Marie Kondo, the decluttering queen, explains why her method of asking, “Does this spark joy?” is powerful:

Continually assessing whether the belongings in your life spark joy allows you to hone your judgment. Over time, your ability to identify what is worth keeping will extend from your home to your career to your relationships. You will be able to discern what makes you happiest and most contented in other aspects of your life.

I’ve discussed how doing very small and enjoyable things can help lift your mood to build the momentum you need to figure out what you want to do in The Lighthouse Method.

In my article in Real Simple, I described knowing what you enjoy can help you be more decisive and quickly identify what to do or what to give up.

Your turn

Given the importance of joy, I’m really curious to learn what you’ve done and/or what you hope to do:

  • How might you add a little bit of joy to your daily routine, or what you’re already doing?
  • What could you do to help yourself notice when you feel joy so that you can amplify it someway?
  • What can you do to commemorate celebrations and other joyous events, even the tiny ones?
  • How can you share small moments of joy with others?

An older version of this article was first published in January 2019.