Unhook from Negativity and Savor Joy

Training our brains to find joy helps counter our natural negativity bias so we can receive and enjoy what’s good in our lives.

Perhaps it seems strange to be investigating what we consider to be a positive emotion, but I think we often miss joy. We don’t actually pay a lot of attention to it; we can often let it slip by without much notice. The good news is, there are practices to cultivate it. And these practices can help us attend to and support joy in our felt experience. It’s actually a pretty important emotion.

Joy aids us in waking up to our lives. And it’s a factor in supporting concentration. So if you’re someone who feels distracted much of the time, have difficulty focusing or paying attention, cultivating and attending to joy is a great way to deepen your concentration.

First, let’s explore what joy is. For me, it can be pleasurable to experience, but it’s essentially different from pleasure. I experience joy as a really internal occurrence. It can be sparked by something external, but it’s also something I can very much cultivate internally. One of the great ways to do that is to consider the things in my life that I’m grateful for. Another way is to savor—really stop and savor—what’s beautiful and good and working in my life.…

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About the author

Jessica Morey

Jessica is the co-founder, executive director and lead teacher of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a nonprofit that offers mindfulness training for teenagers, parents and educators. Jessica began practicing meditation at age 14 at the Insight Meditation Society teen retreats, where she has continued to practice mindfulness and compassion meditation for a quarter century. Over the past ten years, Jessica has taught mindfulness to thousands of teenagers and led over 60 week-long meditation retreats for adolescents. Before founding iBme, Jessica worked in clean energy and climate policy and finance. Read an article in Mindful Magazine, ‘Finding My Way,’ about her experience learning and benefiting from mindfulness throughout her young adult years.