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Word of the Month: Joy    

Word of the Month: Joy

By The Local Optimist Team

Somehow, we’ve made it to July and (despite time still being a bit of a blur from the pandemic) we’re ready to kick our feet up and relish being deep into a summer that feels a little more normal than last. For us at TLO, that means focusing on JOY, one of the most underrated-yet-powerful feelings. 

Defined as the experience of great pleasure or delight, joy often gets short shrift compared to happiness but can actually be easier to attain. In chatting with our team, we realized that happiness is often framed as this far-off place of permanent contentment, making it totally unrealistic for the natural highs and lows of life. Joy, on the other hand, is more about feeling happy in certain moments, like laughing with a friend, falling in love, or trying something new and exhilarating. It doesn’t last forever but the feeling can radiate throughout your day or week, reminding you of how amazing it is to be alive. 

And what’s more joyful than summer, when life is a little more carefree, adventurous, and warm? It’s the perfect time to dive into joy because we experience it so organically throughout this time. You don’t need something monumental to happen to bring it on – it can come from a great workout or eating your favorite tacos, whatever you delight in. 

But if you’re struggling to find things in your life that spark joy (à la Marie Kondo), know that you’re not alone. Summer isn’t always what we make it out to be, and the pressure to live up to that ideal (particularly in the age of Instagram, when everyone’s heavily-curated summers seem to easily trump our own) can wear on us. We have all been there.

Finding and experiencing joy, like anything else, is a practice, and it can take work to cultivate it in your own life. We want to make that easier for you, so this month we’ll be sharing tips on how to do so, while also speaking to experts, influencers, and athletes about how they build joyful lives. Our hope is that these stories bring you closer to the things that bring you joy. 

To kick things off, think over this question and try to be as honest with yourself as you can: What makes you your most joyful self? The answer might surprise you, or be simpler than you imagined, but whatever it is, let it be your guide this month as you seek out more moments of joy.

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.