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36. Eight Billion Quick Tips for Joy

Sympathetic joy may sound like a... funny kind of element. But it is surprisingly powerful. This element encourages us to join in with all the joy that is around us. That means when someone else (like any of the 8 billion folks on the planet) is experiencing happiness or some good fortune, we can participate. And that participation can give us the emotional and physical health benefits, just as if we had experienced the happiness or good fortune ourselves. In this episode, Drs. Emmons and Prasek talk more about this element, some common obstacles, and offer a few key strategies to apply it in your life. 


Watch this episode on YouTube.


Key Takeaways:

  • Emotions are contagious... meaning we can catch moments of happiness from others. That's what sympathetic joy is all about. Joining in with the happiness that you see around you so that you feel that happiness in you as well.  
  • As the Dalai Lama said: “Why rely just on your own good fortune to be happy?  If there are 8 billion people in the world, and you can be happy for their good fortune, then you have just increased your chances of being happy by 8 billion times!”
  • One obstacle to sympathetic joy is simply the lack of attention to it.
  • One important way to boost wellbeing is to ensure you have "relational diversity of one's social portfolio." That sounds way more complicated than it is.. essentially it means having a mix of interactions and relationships with people who you feel close to and also with those who you feel not so close too. This diverse social network is better than just interacting with a small group of close friends and/or family. 
  • You can implement the Kevin Bacon effect to boost your wellbeing...tune in for more.
  • One key strategy to put this element into practice is to focus on 1-3 people who you feel demonstrate happiness or another quality that just makes you feel good when you think about them. Sit with that quality that they have and really tap into how it shows up for them and how it makes you feel. Maybe even tell them that this quality is something that rubs off on you as well. That's the power of sympathetic joy! 


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