Jump for joy! Joy to the world! Enjoy. The word “joy” surrounds us, yet many struggle to find it. The daily grind and life’s burdens try to steal our joy, and noses buried in cell phones rob us of countless opportunities to bring joy to those passing by.
My father loved to sprinkle joy on strangers. His Harbor Tunnel commute provided his favorite opportunities, as he cheerfully greeted tollbooth operators by name, determined to transform their day. “So, I guess you are wondering why I called this meeting,” he would bellow to break awkward elevator silences. He delighted in asking passersby, “How many times did Mr. Opporknockity have to tune the piano,” grinning as he revealed, “Opporknockity only tunes once!”
I inherited the “joy sprinkler” gene, looking daily for opportunities to bring joy to those around me. What fun it is encouraging random folks to join me in singing “Happy Birthday,” often for a person not actually celebrating his birthday. Nothing beats a quarter left in the Aldi cart for the next shopper, the look of relief on a mama’s face as I hold the door for their stroller, or my cheerful and sympathetic greeting to the not-so-patient hubby waiting for their bride to finish shopping.
Research has proven that positive thinking, laughter and socialization improve one’s physical and emotional well-being. Volunteerism, random acts of kindness and making a difference in the lives of others reaps double benefits, improving well-being for the giver and receiver. Try a warm hand-off delivery of your neighbor’s poorly aimed newspaper. Try encouraging the seemingly miserable store cashier. Try to strike up a conversation with the lonely person in the waiting room. Purpose yourself to be a joy sprinkler—trust me, it will be a win for both of you!
Meg P. Motter, L.C.S.W.-C. is a Care Connect psychosocial health navigator. Learn more about Care Connect.