Laughing is one of my favorite things about life.

I see a funny movie or show, hear something funny said on the street, have light and meaningless conversation with friends around the table and laughter ensues. There are all sorts of benefits to laughter – mitigating stress, boosts your immune system, can relieve pain, and can improve breathing.

For me though, laughter means I’m all-in on what is going on in front of me. Whether it is a movie or friends, when I laugh, it’s because I’m engaged. I love living and laughter is one of the benefits. There is a level of happiness when laughter is taking place. The room changes, people’s moods adjust. 

. Joy is an outcome. Joy is what we see on a child’s face the first time they see a magic trick. Joy is knowing you completed something with great pride. Being connected to life in the present moment is experiencing the joy of living.

The French calls this Joie de vivre which means a person is completely engrossed in the business of being alive. You are alive. Are you experiencing joy in your relationships? In your work?

The truth is that being engrossed in living provides more opportunities for joy. That’s what I want. more moments, more opportunities to experience joy with those I love, lead, and serve. As humans, that is something we should strive for – joy.

Is it always possible to experience joy? No. People with higher levels of resilience experience more opportunities for joy. How do you develop more resilience? One way is to live with purpose. Not just live on purpose, although that helps, but live WITH purpose. Punching the clock, counting the days to the weekend, watching hours of TV is not living with purpose.

Living with purpose means knowing what you are about and where you are going. It often involves giving of your time, energy, and resources. Whether in a non-profit or your local place of worship. Maybe volunteering at a school, foodbank, or community center just to get started.

Andres Zuzunaga developed a purpose Venn diagram (see left for a representation of his work) so he could live with greater purpose. They’re worth exploring.

If you’ve got a great job, the last one maybe isn’t as relevant. The other three speak to passion for living. Joie de vivre! The joy of living is the result of living a life of deep friendships and purpose.

Are you regularly experiencing Joie de vivre?

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