14 minutes ago
Emotional repression is a THING. And one of the things that get repressed in people is... Joy.
The joy that makes you laugh out loud with all you got, the joy that's kicking your head back and bask in the beauty of life. The quiet joy in doing something you adore, even when others think it's lame.
In Germany, and probably also elsewhere in the world, kids get sent out of classrooms if they laugh to much. Parents get included in disciplinary measures if the kids are "too silly". Take serious things seriously - and once you're an adult, life will get haaaaard.
The emotional repression of joy worked tremendously well within me, resulting in depression, anxiety, and a burnout at eighteen. Yay.
But this isn't just my problem by far.
So how in the world can we reclaim our joy?
A lot of people will tell you for this: just do more things you like. And this is a genuinely important part of it: remember the things you used to adore as a child, take the things you can pass hours with, and do it as often as your time table allows. More often, even - as Charlie Hoehn says in Play It Away, 8h of sleep, 8h of work, 8h of play - and that's non-negotiable.
But there's another part that's as important to this: find joy in the things you do.
Heck, human beings are masters at finding emotions in stuff. Admit it, we can all have an all-around amazing day, and then one thing happens and we're like "the universe hates us, my day sucked!" So how about we look for joy in the way we look for negativity?
When you wash the dishes, take a moment to feel the water on your hands, and ask yourself... Where's the joy in this?
When you crawl through traffic to bring your kids to school, find one tendril of joy... Even if it's at your kids making faces, it at being alive to have problems in the first place.
Now, that doesn't mean to exorcise negative emotions. Sometimes, we have shitty days. That sucks. And it's allowed to. Aaaaaaand.... You can allow those stressed out, fearful, angry feelings, you can go in them... And, as soon as it feels possible, you can allow 1% happiness in the gloom. 1% joy at feeling, at whatever inspires it.
This trains the muscles, for a happier life.