I’ve been on a “Joy Spotting” mission lately. Joy Spotting is intentionally seeking out and taking notice of small pockets of joy.


A few months ago I watched a TED talk that was doing the rounds. The speaker, Ingrid Fetell Lee, was dressed in a brightly coloured dress, and she just seemed to radiate JOY. She was talking about “Where joy hides, and how to find it”, and it really impacted me.

Fetell Lee is a designer who studied joy and how it is found in our surroundings. She researched the neuroscience behind the emotion of joy – what areas of the brain are activated when viewing more “joyful” objects, and also asked people what they found joy in. She discovered a theme; joy can be found in objects like balloons, bubbles, blossoms, confetti, sprinkles, rainbows and swimming pools; round colourful objects and things that create a feeling of airy lightness. She has named this theme “The Aesthetics of Joy”.

I was so struck by this concept, because finding joy in the everyday moments as a mother has been something I’ve seeking. I find that some days of being a stay at home Mum can get monotonous, and I sometimes find that I lose a bit of my spark during winter. I needed more joy in my life! Ingrid Fetell Lee encourages people to start intentionally “joy spotting”; joining in on social media if you like. Starting a “joy spotting” mission in the middle of a grey Canterbury winter seemed like a brilliant idea to me!

The very same day I watched her TED talk I found a brightly coloured pair of pants while opshopping. Feeling drawn to them, on a whim I bought them, even though they were way out of my comfort zone. Wearing them and taking some time to paint my nails in a fun “joy manicure” I felt an unexplainable burst of positivity – I had created my own moment of joy.



Other ways I have been noticing and creating joy have been placing my flowering daffodils at my front door, embracing the childlike joy of being goofy with my kids (who just seem to be naturally joyful), dancing in the car to 90’s high school hits,  slowing down and being mindful of noticing blossoms and the blue canterbury skies, and being authentically me. I’ve can say that I’ve felt happier in the moments of embracing the crazy times with the kids, and I’m sure they’re glad that I’m joining in on some of the fart jokes now too!


As Fetell Lee states: “each moment of joy is small, but over time they add up to more than the sum of their parts”; meaning that over time, the more you mindfully notice each small moment of joy, the happier you’ll be overall.  

So what do you think? How can you bring more joy into your life? Join me on a “joy spotting” mission!

This article appeared in the Spring Issue of Family Times Magazine, an award winning parenting magazine. 

Ingrid Fetell Lee’s new release book ‘Joyful’ draws on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology. In it she explains why one place makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters delight and sharing — and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives. You can purchase via my affiliate link here:

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