One thing that’s been heartening in the midst of this crisis has been to see how many of you are reaching for joy right now. While it can sometimes be hard to focus on joy during the midst of struggle, joy can also break through our stress and anxiety, offering moments of connection, lightness, and relief. These moments don’t have to be big. Even tiny slivers of joy can be like flashes of light in the darkness, and have been shown by research to help us cope with adversity and become more resilient.
Which is why the simple practice of joyspotting feels more vital to me now than ever. Joyspotting began more than 10 years ago as a personal habit of noticing and capturing things that made me smile: a rainbow in a puddle, a dog in a funny costume, an unlikely flower sprouting from a crack in the sidewalk. Over the years, it has evolved into a shared practice with participants from all around the world, and though I never would’ve expected it at the outset, a kind of movement. (If you’re new to the idea of joyspotting, you can learn more here.)
As I write this, there are more than 34,000 posts tagged #joyspotting on Instagram. I love the way that Instagram makes it easy for people to share a spontaneous moment of joy and to gather all these joyful moments together so that anyone can experience them. (If you’re having a tough day, I highly recommend a scroll through #joyspotting as a pick-me-up!)
Yet one thing that I know many joyspotters have been craving more of is community — especially right now, when physical distancing is creating a very real sense of isolation. While we can see and comment on each others’ posts via the hashtag, it’s hard to really feel the same sense of togetherness that comes from having a place truly devoted to sharing what brings us joy. And yet we know from research that sharing a moment of joy with others magnifies the joy we find in that experience. When we share joy, it multiplies!
It’s with this in mind that I decided to create The Joyspotters Society, a new online community devoted to finding and sharing the things that make us light up inside. The Joyspotters Society is a place for joy-seekers and joy-makers of all stripes to come together to swap ideas, offer inspiration, and amplify joy.
I have three main hopes for this community:
A source of buoyancy
We all have enough sources of negativity in our lives, and my intent is that The Joyspotters Society be a place you can come at any time to find something that gives your spirits a lift. We know that emotions have a tendency to spiral, and that small moments of joy can disrupt downward spirals (you know, those “worry loops” that start with running out of milk and somehow end up with you alone in a scene resembling Mad Max?) and help redirect our minds in a joyful direction. This is especially important because research shows that when we see something that gives us joy, it broadens our perspective and makes us more likely to continue to notice joy around us. I hope that The Joyspotters Society can be like a buoy on the ocean, always lifting us up to the surface.
A well of inspiration
I’m often asked if I can share examples of joyful things: classrooms and hospitals, offices and home offices, artworks and gardens, websites and kitchens and public squares. And while I do have many of these things, I know that as a community, we could build a much bigger collection of joyful inspiration than I can alone. Many of the members of this community are joy-makers — architects, quilters, city planners, teachers, administrators, product designers, artists, and entrepreneurs — and sharing joyful inspiration is one way to fuel that work and further the mission of making this world a more joyful place.
A heart for our community
I can’t tell you how many times people ask me, “Where can I go to find other people like me, who are interested in creating joy in the world?” I hope that The Joyspotters Society will be this place. A place where students who want to integrate joy into their studies can learn together. A place where someone looking to add color to their community might find an artist to collaborate with. A place of spontaneous connection, shared purpose, and joyful belonging. A place that transcends discrete interests and hobbies, bringing together diverse people with diverse passions unified by their desire to create a more joyful world.
To support these aspirations, here are a few things we’ll be doing inside The Joyspotters Society:
- Weekly joyspotting themes to inspire you to keep an eye out for joy
- Community spotlights featuring joyspotters and joymakers
- Live sessions with me (and occasional guest experts) on relevant topics
- Sneak peeks at new resources and other offerings before they’re released publicly
So, please consider this your official invitation to join us in The Joyspotters Society! I can’t wait to see you there.
And if you haven’t already, make sure you grab my free Joyspotter’s Guide, which offers 12 tips for finding more joy in the world around you!
PS: Because I know this question will come up, some of you may be wondering, why Facebook? There are a few reasons, but the main one is that many people are already on Facebook, so rather than forcing everyone to sign up for a new platform, Facebook allows us to come together in a place where we already are. Facebook Groups also has some of the best tools for creating and sustaining communities online, such as the ability to do live broadcasts and share images and videos. After having been a part of different communities across a range of platforms, I’ve found that the ones that are most enjoyable and active are all on Facebook.
I do realize that some people have an issue with Facebook, and I acknowledge and understand (not to mention, agree with) many of the reasons for this objection. I wish I had a better workaround, but for now, this offers us . Thanks, and again, hope to see you there!April 24th, 2020