Friends Spark Joy

Ever feel that spark of joy when you see a certain someone? It could be a coworker, a friend, a casual acquaintance. It doesn’t matter who. You just feel yourself smile inside and your muscles relax in your neck and shoulders. Something about that person makes you feel joyful inside.

Science shows that people in our lives matter when it comes to feeling joy. The friendly interaction with other people releases 0xytocin, a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, into our system which calms the “fear center” in our brain” and helps decrease stress, anxiety or depressive thoughts. The Oxytocin secretion by the brain also boosts the serotonin, what’s been called the “happy hormone.” All of this leads me to joy.

Lately, I wondered about the people in my life that spark joy in me. Who do I come in contact with that brings joy to me and others? What is it they do that makes me feel joy?

I reflected back on my friendships and conversations and came up with my top ten ways people spark joy in my life:

  1. They are comfortable in their own skin.
  2. They speak with a passion and confidence about life.
  3. They speak with openness and honesty.
  4. They present themselves in a positive manner.
  5. Their conversation flows with mine.
  6. They smile a lot.
  7. They make me laugh.
  8. They speak in uplifting or calm tones.
  9. They forgive.
  10. They listen.

After looking at ways people make me feel joy, I reflected on those “people” traits that make me feel nothing or defensive:

  1. They point out my faults
  2. They catch me in a mistake
  3. They speak with sarcasm
  4. They present a defensive body language or wording.
  5. They say negative things about others behind their back.
  6. They voice their opinions without prompting
  7. They intimidate me, whether or not it is real or just in my head
  8. They tell a lie
  9. They converse in a negative manner
  10. They speak in un-meaningful conversations.

This “joy” checklist is far from complete and contains my judgement on what people bring joy to my life.

What are your top ten things in a person that spark joy in you?

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