It is the Joygerm. And today is officially National Joygerm Day. It was created as a special day set aside each year to remind everyone that by being positive and treating others with kindness, they can influence those around them and spread that positive attitude to others. If there was ever a time to spread joy and kindness, it is now. The interesting thing about joy is that the more you give it, the more you have.
Finding a way to share the joy with others is the best way to find the joy in yourself. Anyone regardless of their financial situation can spread joy through small, random acts of kindness. They can be simple, like opening the door for someone who's got their hands full. Or smiling at everyone you meet. Who knows? it could be the only smile they see all day. If you're like me, you have loads of old magazines. Why not donate them to a local assisted living facility. Or volunteer to read a book to someone who no longer can. There are thousands of free and relatively inexpensive ways to spread joy. And, for me, finding joy and sharing kindness means so much more when you are actively involved. Yes, it's wonderful to donate money to a great cause that you believe in, but it won't necessarily bring you the same joy as delivering a small bouquet of flowers to someone in the hospital who has never had a visitor.
Joy isn't something you can walk into the store and buy. There are no year-end sales on a "lifetime of joy." But you can, in a sense, buy joy...as long as it's meant for someone else. Recent studies have shown that giving to others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves. But kindness may have a longer and more profound effect on us than the temporary joy we get in giving someone a gift. A joint study conducted by Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia found that humans (and, dare I say frogs, too) felt happier remembering a time when they purchased a gift for someone else than remembering one they bought for themselves. What makes this study interesting is that the actual amount spent on the gift didn't matter. Additionally, researchers discovered that after buying a gift for someone else and experiencing the joy it brings, humans were far more apt to buy something for someone else in the future. Generosity breeds generosity and stinginess breeds more of the same. This demonstrates the positive feedback loop between kindness and generosity. The practical applications of this are that when you engage in one kind deed...like taking your mom to lunch...can make you happier and when you're happier the more likely you are to engage in another kind deed. An the recipient of your kindness? They, too, will gain happiness and become more incline to pass it on. Thus the Joygerm effect. It is highly contagious!
Having joy maker you kinder and being kind bring you joy. It's wonderful how that all works out! How can you celebrate Joygerm Day? I'm sure you've already thought of many things you can do but if you need a few suggestions how about laughing, smiling, being kind for no special reason, and doing what you can to inspire others to laugh, smile, and be kind for no special reason?
Joygerm day was created in 1981 by a joyful woman named Joan White and, yes, there is an actual Joygerm Club with over 180,000 card-carrying members from around the world. But you don't need a membership to celebrate. Joygerm Day is a day for making others feel good. And in doing so, you'll find more joy and more kindness for yourself than you ever thought possible.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a few random acts of kindness I want to go do for others. Just thinking about them is making me happier already! Oh, and don't forget to post your random acts of kindness on your social media using #NationalJoygermDay.