“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
— Helen Keller
Hellen Keller was a wise woman determined to stay happy despite many difficulties in her life, including loss of vision, hearing, and speech. Early on, she learned that we must create happiness by interacting with our world and pursuing our values.
Dr. Barb Fredrickson is another woman with words of wisdom and a lot of research about how to “keep happy.” Her Broaden and Build Theory demonstrates that experiencing positive emotions can promote wellbeing and improve resilience and physical health. A Jolt of Joy is one skill you can learn to implement, and it can help you experience more positive emotions and promote wellbeing.
What are Jolts of Joy?
Jolts of Joy are small, intentional actions that infuse positive emotions into our day and help us take control of our wellbeing moment to moment. From increased creative thinking and improved sleep to preventing depression and anxiety, these small actions positively impact your wellbeing in a big way.
We all know that feeling when you are a bit blue, but then your favorite song comes on, and you take a moment to dance or sing along. Or when you’re shuffling through the grocery store a bit disgruntled as it is late, and you are tired. But you turn the corner and see a baby smiling and giggling, and you feel a surge of positive emotions.
These experiences happen by chance, but you don’t have to leave your happiness to chance any longer. Practice Jolts of Joy by intentionally engaging in acts that bring you a range of positive emotions (e.g., inspiration, serenity, or amusement). Don’t wait for a song to magically come on —push play on the music that always leaves you feeling good. Don’t wait for a baby to be in your path. Watch a short, fun video of giggling babies on your phone for a happiness boost before you head out shopping.
Teaching Jolts of Joy
And as a teacher, you can facilitate Jolts of Joy for your students and teach them to engage in their own Jolts of Joy. In my years teaching autistic children, I have specific memories of seeing my student’s experience positive emotions. I can picture Sarah’s face lighting up while taking the first sip of her favorite coffee drink, and Bryan getting a new set of paints to support his artistic endeavors. I wish I had taught my students more ways to take control of their positive emotions and practice their own Jolts of Joy.
Helen Keller knew that creating happiness was a prerequisite for personal flourishing. Dr. Fredrickson showed us how pleasant emotions contribute to resilience, wellbeing and health, and now it’s your move. Jolts of Joy are intentional actions. Take control, be intentional, and induce positive emotions in yourself and teach your students to do the same. Jolt your Joy!
Learn more about practicing the Skill of Jolts of Joy.