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The function of joy is to affirm the meaningfulness of life.

Joy is one of the primordial emotions that a newborn baby shows on its face, even it has been born pre-term, particularly when it is put to its mother’s breast.

Joy, at it’s very essence, is activated via connection.

Joy is the foundation from which the desire for happiness and also the ability to experience happiness is based.

Joyful laughter produces positive feeling as well as promoting relaxation and acceptance of circumstances.

The attunement of Joy is proposed as being when there is a sharing of sacred space, such as when a baby is born.

Joy is the product from an impulse to rejoice in the significance of a shared experience between one or more people and another.
Joy has been implicated in the firing of the para-sympathetic nervous system as well as improving cognitive problem-solving skills.

Joy is the one emotion that can lead to sustained and heightened levels of well-being.

Joy gives people more choices, greater scope for coping mechanisms that assist with positive affect.

Going further than that, even experiencing mild joy has been implicated in a mediating capacity within recovery from physical health issues.

Joy can repair the misery both physically and mentally of negative emotion.

Joy has also been implicated in rising levels of the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin. Oxytocin has both a scientific, and, a popular reputation for being a love or cuddle hormone essential in nurturing and protecting offspring, supporting empathic circuits, increasing trust within familiar groups and increasing better recognition of emotional expression.

Joy reflects the notion that a person has achieved self-actualization, that it is crucial to flourishing.

Joy is an inner response of the person rather than hedonistic pleasure derived from external stimuli.

Nietzsche describes the essence of joy as being the overflow of vitality, that a person gets filled with the feeling of power, that vitality is driving the universe and all within it. Vitality, he argues is within everyone, that the power is there for the taking, should people decide to do use it.

The therapeutic effects of joy have been proposed and verified, pre-empting joy is the same as the curative processes and this is surely something to be joyful about!

Dr Rachel is a neuro-psychologist specialising in trauma recovery and wellbeing in those with chronic or neurological conditions. She is available for consultations at the NTA Clinic in Hampshire and also via Skype / Facetime / Phone. More info at: www.ntahealth/dr-rachel/

Copyright Dr Rachel Taylor 2019

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