Appreciating feeling joy
This is Everyday Feels, a podcast about emotions for kids and their grownups. In each episode, Nakita Simpson and Dr. Lockhart explore a new emotion, breaking down why we may be feeling that way.
Nakita: Honestly I'm feeling pretty happy, because we get to talk about one of my favorite emotions today.
Ann-Louise: Thanks for sharing. I love talking about certain emotions more than others as well too.
Nakita: Oh, you’re welcome, Dr. Lockhart. Thank you for that too. Thinking about this episode, do you find it easy or hard to find things to be happy about every day?
Ann-Louise: You know, I actually find it pretty easy. I’m generally a pretty happy and joyful person. And I tend to see the good things, people, and experiences..even movies. Like, I’ll be watching a really bad movie and continue to watch it, because it might get better. I would say I’m hopeful and optimistic.
Nakita: Oh, well, let's see if we can find more ways to be optimistic and understand a little bit more about what it means to find happiness in the big and little things. Are you ready?
I think it's time we heard from Elana, from Pasadena, California, who has so much to share about the things that make her happy.
Elana is 8 years old. Let's listen together.
Elana: Hi, my name’s Elana. I’m 8 years old, and I live in Pasadena, California.
Grownup: Hi, Elana. Can you tell me who is in your family?
Elana: David, Christian, my mom, and my dad.
Grownup: That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing. Now, we’re going to talk about feelings. Do you know what feelings are?
Elana: Emotions that you feel.
Grownup: Emotions that you feel. Now, can you think of one emotion that you want to talk about today?
Grownup: Happiness! That’s a great emotion. Um, can you tell me what makes you feel happiness?
Elana: Uh, when I get to go somewhere.
Grownup: Okay, what else?
Elana: When I hang out with my family.
Grownup: When you hang out with your family. That’s great! And, what are some other experiences that you like to do with your family that makes you happy?
Elana: Um, go on trips.
Grownup: That’s amazing! Alright, thanks for sharing.
Ann-Louise: That was a really great story. Thanks for sharing, Elena. I think it’s so important to remember or to know if you’re hearing this for the first time, that our feelings are really our friends, but we tend to be very good friends with joy and happiness. Most of us really liked that one.
Nakita: I’m glad you brought that up Dr. Lockhart. I always love talking about happiness and things that make me very happy. Now, are there other words that better describe when you feel very happy?
Ann-Louise: That's a great question, Nakita. Now there are definitely words we can use to describe feeling very happy. These are called synonyms. These include words such as joy, excitement, contentment, optimistic, hopeful, proud, capable, and grateful.
Nakita: I didn’t realize there were so many ways to describe feeling very happy, my favorite word for sure is joy.
Ann-Louise: I love that word too. I especially love contentment, because it means to feel joyful regardless of my circumstances. Even when things aren’t going my way, contentment helps me to look forward to when they are.
Nakita: Ah, that actually is a really great word. I might have a new favorite too. Thank you so much for sharing that, Dr. Lockhart. Learning how to identify happiness in my life every day is such a special and helpful skill.
I remember when I was frustrated with a day filled with one bad thing after another, I did some meditation to try to calm down and I had to ground myself and find one thing to try to cheer me up. Which was having a really yummy breakfast. I still use that memory to remember that I can find small or big things every day to be happy about. Even when my days feel really hard.
Ann-Louise: You and I both seem to find joy in good food. I love that! I find excitement in watching a good action or superhero movie, meeting amazing people, and a super cute hairstyle.
I remember when I tried crochet braids the first time and I was like, where has this hairstyle been all my life?! I was full of joy and excitement!
Nakita: Oh, Dr. Lockhart, before we wrap up, are there any tools on finding happiness in our everyday life so we can experience more joy?
Ann-Louise: Absolutely Nakita. I have a quick reminder and two really helpful tips.
Always remember your feelings are not your enemy, your feelings give you messages about other people and the world around you. So just embrace those feelings. Even the icky or uncomfortable ones. I know it’s hard, but this is an important part of the process.
First, keep a journal and write down 1 or 2 sentences about one thing you were grateful for that day. If you don’t like to write, you can even record it on a video. That way, when you have days that weren’t all that great, you can always look back and remember that not every day is crummy. There are good days too.
Second, share that joy with a friend, family member, or a teacher. There are so many people who are struggling. Sharing a smile, a funny story, a ‘thank you’, or a kind note can go a long way in spreading that joy. You can even share this episode with someone who might need it.