Welcome to Joy Lab!: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Joy Lab podcast, where we help you uncover and foster your most joyful self. Your hosts, Dr. Henry Emmons and Dr. Aimee Prasek, bring you the ideal mix of soulful and scientifically sound tools to spark your joy, even when it feels dark. When you're ready to experiment with more joy, combine this podcast with the full Joy Lab program over at JoyLab.coach.
Aimee: Well, Welcome to Joy. Lab. It's just me here, Aimee. So you probably know here at Joy Lab, we infuse science with soul to help you uncover joy. We use those elements of joy to create those building blocks for a joyful life. And the element of joy we have been exploring over the last few episodes is gratitude.
And the next element we'll dig into is sympathetic joy. But for this episode, I want to bridge both of those, uh, a bit by hitting on some of the obstacles [00:01:00] of these two elements and why the practice of these elements and all of our elements of joy actually, work to actually build up this internal, infinite supply of joy that is within us.
So first, when we talk about joy here at Joy Lab, we're talking about something deeper than happiness, something more lasting and foundational. It's also not the opposite of depression. As Henry often says, joy can be there with sadness. Now of course, the pursuit of happiness has a lot of attention, and happiness is fun.
And of course we want more moments of it, but there's a reason why we don't chase happiness here at Joy Lab. Why we don't even give it much attention, actually. There are two main reasons for this. Building up these elements of joy that work to [00:02:00] actually open us up, um, open us up to more happiness.
It's just a consequence of working on these elements. And the second one is the happiness paradox. So the happiness paradox is pretty fascinating. There's a lot of growing research here that supports this idea that for those who value happiness to a high degree, you know, if they believe happiness is super important, and the higher that degree of valuing, actually the worse their outcomes are for their emotions in the short term and for long term outcomes like overall wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Isn't that wild? And it's so counter to, I think, you know what we've been told. We're told to pursue happiness, that it's the best emotion. But as I just said, as the research suggests, the more we pursue happiness, the more we put it out there as this carrot that we need to get more of, then the more [00:03:00] elusive it gets, the harder it, uh, it is for us to actually experience it.
There are a lot of subtleties to this, but it's enough evidence to say that happiness as a primary focus can end up delivering us the very opposite.
We'll talk about some fallacies, um, in some later episodes that hit on sympathetic joy that relate here as well. Um, When I was actually studying some traditional healing modalities in India, Let me rephrase that, when I was chasing happiness and it took me way across the globe, I strolled into this tiny little shop, uh, selling all these beautiful, handmade goods.
It was one of those shops that I just felt drawn into, like I could hang out there all day, like an old bookstore. I looked up on the wall to find these little cloth scrolls that had quotes from the Dalai Lama on them. I bought all of them, [00:04:00] but it was this one that caught my attention. It reads: "The Paradox of Our Age.
We have bigger houses, but smaller families. More conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense. More knowledge, but less judgment. More experts, but more problems. More medicines, but less healthiness. We have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication. We have become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are times of fast foods, but slower digestion. Tall people, but short character. Steep profits, but shallow relationships. It is a time when there is [00:05:00] much in the window, but nothing in the room."
That's the happiness paradox.
So instead of chasing happiness at Joy Lab, we make space for all the emotions. Happiness, sadness, grief, jealousy, all this stuff that just rises up in us for some good reasons and some no good reasons. They just do anyway. And then to navigate that stuff that will come up, uh, instead of blocking the uncomfortable ones and chasing the ones we want, we let it all be there. And at the same time build up those other positive emotions and inner states. And as we build up those other elements, uh, in our life, they can just naturally lead to more happiness, sure. But really to more lasting joy and to these other outcomes as well, like overall wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Gratitude is a big one here. There's a ton of research to support how powerful [00:06:00] it is in shifting our mood, in helping us create this positive spiral that helps us to see more of the good stuff. And sympathetic joy, the element we'll dig into over the next four or so episodes with some meditations in there, in my opinion, is just as powerful and its effects are like instant when we practice it.
So we'll talk all about that in the next few episodes, but in the meantime, I want to encourage you to practice it in a really fun way. So there's this great study where researchers were curious if participants would experience a mood boost by practicing empathetic joy, also knows known as sympathetic joy, while watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition. And they did!
So all you have to do is watch your favorite reality show or sport, whatever your favorite sport might be, and cheer for everyone involved. Everybody singing on the Voice or the next season of Top Chef, whatever your show or competition [00:07:00] of, um, your favorite competition is. So I plan on watching British Bake Off and cheering for every person involved, which is generally not hard, but maybe I'll pick, uh, Vikings versus Packers or something. Um, you know, for those of you who are more advanced, I challenge you to do that. Watch your favorite sport and cheer for both teams. Yes, Vikings fans, cheer for the Packers.
Packers, cheer for the Vikings. I said that. Yankees versus Red Sox, Celtics, Lakers. Canadians, Maple Leafs, whatever, Madrid, Barcelona, I don't know. All the rivals. Whatever it is, try to soak in every celebration that you see. So give it a try. Let us know how it goes. Maybe comment over on YouTube or something.
Give us a review on whatever platform you're using and note your experience. I'd love to celebrate with you as you practice So to end, I want to share a little about, and a quote as well, from one of my favorite athletes of all time, Bill Russell. So, in [00:08:00] Russell's memoir Second Wind, he described how even during big games, sometimes he'd silently root for the other team because if they were playing good, his experience of the game would be more full, like more nourishing, more energizing.
Isn't that brilliant? I think we can capture that gratitude for being part of it and putting that out into the world because it will also come back to you. Sympathetic joy, engaging with it. I remember sort of an aside an interview or something with Kevin Garnet and Bill Russell. And Bill Russell was laughing and it was just one of the most joyful, stuffed, fully open laughs I'd seen.
I think Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have gotten sort of that joyful laughing award, but I think Bill Russell is the sage of joyful laughter. If you wanna catch some sympathetic joy, just Google Bill Russell laughing, and you'll be working your sympathetic joy [00:09:00] muscles, like an NBA drill. So, um, we'll explore more sympathetic joy in our next few episodes.
But now I'll leave you with some wisdom. Quote from Bill Russell, some encouragement to practice gratitude. Let it open your eyes and your heart to joy, to be with it and to let it fuel you.
Here's what he said: " To me, the most important part of winning is joy. You can win without joy, but winning that's joyless is like eating in a four star restaurant when you're not hungry. Joy is a current of energy in your body like chlorophyll or sunlight that fills you up. And makes you naturally wanna do your best.
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