Joy Avoidance- The Decline of Expression of Joy

Are you tempted to avoid joy? Research suggests that the expression of joy has declined over time. Despite the challenges we face, we can allow ourselves to express joy. You have the power to change that narrative!

In recent years, the expression of joy has seemingly diminished, a phenomenon that has captured the attention of psychologists, sociologists and cultural analysts alike. Various factors have been suggested to contribute to this decline, ranging from cultural shifts, technological advancements, to psychological influences.

The week has been dominated by trauma and international conflicts and our hearts go to all victims of wars and all those impacted by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. While 98% of the headlines covering wars and traumatic experiences will continue to reverberate, I want to draw your attention to the avoidance of joy and the decline of expression of joy.

  • Do you allow yourself a full expression of joy?
  • Is knowing there is suffering in the world making you feel guilty when you experience positive emotions?
  • Can you challenge your negative emotions?
  • Can you reinterpret anger to experience gratitude?

We explored the factors behind our readers answers to further understand the reasons behind the decrease in the expression of joy.

Cultural Shifts

Cultural norms and societal expectations have a significant impact on the expression of joy. Historically, joy has been a central part of human experience, often celebrated and encouraged in social gatherings and religious ceremonies. However, the influence of television, industrialization and a decline in self- awareness have contributed to a more subdued expression of joy. These changes have led to a society where the overt expression of joy is less common, as it may be perceived as unprofessional or inappropriate in many modern contexts.

Technological Advancements

The rise of digital technology, particularly social media, has altered the way we experience and express emotions. While technology has the potential to connect people, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and comparison, which are antithetical to joy. The curated images of happiness on social media platforms may ironically lead to a decrease in genuine joy, as we compare our lives to the seemingly perfect lives of others, often resulting in feelings of inadequacy and decreased self-esteem.

Psychological Influences

Joy is a vulnerable emotion that requires an openness to the full spectrum of human experience, including the potential for heartbreak and disappointment. The fear of being hurt can lead you to shield yourself from joy as a protective mechanism. Furthermore, joy has been somewhat neglected in the field of Positive Psychology, which has focused more on happiness and less on the distinct emotion of joy. This academic oversight may have contributed to a societal undervaluing of joy.

Additionally, the concept of joy is often intertwined with your core identity and values, suggesting that a disconnection from these aspects of self can result in a diminished capacity for joy. In a rapidly changing world, maintaining a connection to your identity and values can be challenging, affecting the ability to experience and express joy.

The decline in the expression of joy is a multifaceted issue that cannot be attributed to a single cause. Cultural shifts have led to a society that often values productivity over happiness, while technological advancements have changed the way we interact and perceive our own lives and the role in society. Psychological influences, such as the vulnerability associated with joy and a disconnection from core identity, also play a critical role.

Despite these challenges, it is important to remember that joy can be cultivated and practised. By fostering awareness and choosing activities that reinforce joy, you can work to counteract the societal trends that have led to its decline. As researchers and practitioners continue to explore and emphasise the importance of joy, there is hope for a resurgence in its expression.

While so many of us experience burnout we also carry resentment and emotional depletion, creating barriers to connection and communication in our relationships. Striking a balance between self-care and care for others is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for nurturing harmonious, fulfilling relationships.

Yet, learning to be kind to oneself does not happen overnight. It requires time, patience and practice. It can be helpful to start by acknowledging your own feelings and experiences, tuning into your inner dialogue and challenging negative self-judgments. Even simple practices such as journaling, practicing mindfulness, or expressing gratitude can cultivate a sense of self-kindness and acceptance.

Beyond these practices, it’s also beneficial to surround yourself with positive influences who model self-kindness. Whether they are family, friends, or mentors, these people can offer supportive perspectives and inspire you to embrace self-compassion in your own life.

On a societal level, promoting the values of self-love, acceptance and compassion can counteract the harmful narratives of perfectionism, achievement, and superficial success that pervade so much of contemporary culture. Schools, workplaces, communities and media platforms all have a role to play in shaping a culture that elevates the importance of mental health, emotional well-being and the humanity in each of us.

In nurturing self-compassion, we not only improve the quality of our own lives, but we also contribute to a more empathetic, understanding and compassionate world. Let’s embody these values together, creating a society where the power of self-kindness radiates through all aspects of our relationships and lives.

In the end, being kind to yourself is an ongoing journey of growth and self-discovery, a journey that not only enriches your own life, but also the lives of those around you. It is a testament to the innate worth and dignity inherent in you and a gateway to deeper, more meaningful connections with others. Regardless of where you are on this path, remember to be patient with yourself. After all, kindness begins with the way you treat yourself.

Do you want to share your story and inspire our readers ? Know that  YOUR EXPERTISE is paving the way for a brighter, happier future.

Dr Marina Nani
Dr Marina Nani

Editor-in-Chief of Rich Woman Magazine, founder of Sovereign Magazine, author of many books, Dr Marina Nani is a social edification scientist coining a new industry, Social Edification.
Passionately advocating to celebrate your human potential, she is well known for her trademark "Be Seen- Be Heard- Be You" running red carpet events and advanced courses like Blog Genius®, Book Genius®, Podcast Genius®, the cornerstones of her teaching.
The constant practitioner of good news, she founded MAKE THE NEWS
( MTN) with the aim to diagnose and close the achievement gap globally.
Founder of many publications, British Brands with global reach Marina believes that there is a genius ( Stardust) in each individual, regardless of past and present circumstances.
"Not recognising your talent leaves society at loss. Sharing the good news makes a significant difference in your perception about yourself, your industry and your community."

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