Written by Megan Davis

Locked and loaded: joy triggers

Several years ago, while we were on a vacation in the Outer Banks, my mother-in-law made the mistake of literally shouting, “Ooo! A kite!” while we were on one of those wild horse tours. She hasn’t lived this moment down.

But all she was doing was showing joy. The kite was a small, simple thing, but it made her happy.

So, what makes you happy? What are the simple, perhaps irrational, things that bring you joy?

I found out the other day that these things are called “joy triggers.” And I loved that.

Joy triggers

I’m not sure if she created the phrase, but Arianna Huffington described joy triggers like this:

“It’s not enough to be productive, it’s not enough to be successful, I need my joy triggers. Joy triggers are not rational. Bring them into your daily life, because I really believe that… it’s all a part of how we can bring balance into our life… getting joy from simple (but beautiful) things — scents and sights and tastes.”

Life is never going to be perfect. Look at 2020 and all the unexpected challenges so many of us have gone through just this year. Although they’re not a magic wand, joy triggers can help remember that, even in the worst times, there are small things that bring you happiness or a sense of comfort.

Create your list

Maybe while you were reading this, you started thinking about your joy triggers. I encourage you to write them down or capture them in some way. Here are some of mine:

  • The smell of freshly-cut grass.
  • A towel warm from the dryer.
  • The crackle of a fire pit.
  • The attention-to-detail in a video game landscape. (Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, anyone?)
  • A beautiful book cover.
  • Opening a new jar of peanut butter.

Knowing what makes you smile is important, as is being grateful for those opportunities to smile.

So, maybe this can be a new kind of trigger warning…for joy.

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