How to create universal Joy?

Enjoying your work is important. But what is it? And, more important, how can you create the feeling ‘joy’?

What is joy?

Ingrid Fetell Lee researched it. She was intrigued by the question ‘How do things make us feel joy?’ She focust her research on how tangible things make us feel the intangible emotion ‘joy’.

Scientists use the words “joy” and “happiness” and “positivity” more or less interchangeably. But broadly speaking, when psychologists use the word joy they mean an intense, momentary experience of positive emotion. An emotion that makes us smile, laugh and feel like we want to jump up and down. 

Joy is different than happiness. Happiness measures how good we feel over time. Joy is about feeling good in the moment, right now. Nowadays we are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness and we kind of overlook joy.

What creates joy?

After studying joy for a while Ingrid found out what things are joyful for nearly everyone. Cherry blossoms, bubbles, swimming pools, tree houses, hot air balloons, ice cream cones (especially the ones with the sprinkles) and rainbows bring joy across lines of age and gender and ethnicity. 

Ingrid noticed a pattern in things that bring joy: they are round things, have pops of bright color, are symmetrical shapes, have a sense of abundance and multiplicity and/or they give a feeling of lightness or elevation. 

What to change to increase joy?

Knowing what brings us joy, why do we have schools, offices and hospitals that look like this? (see picture below)

Instead of colorful and round and/or symmetrical?

Research shows that in colorful schools attendance improves, graffiti disappears and kids actually say they feel safer. This aligns with research conducted in four countries, which shows that people working in more colorful offices are actually more alert, more confident and friendlier than those working in drab spaces.

So, do you want to ensure your people enjoy their work and clients feel comfortable? Create a colorful environment!

If you want to learn more: watch Ingrids’ TED talk below.