Sharing Joy Increases Joy

“Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it” – Albert Schweitzer

There is something very exciting to me about sharing something I am passionate about. Once I commit to something, I am really invested in it, so I tend to not take on too many different activities or interests preferring to go a mile deep rather than wide as far as most things go.   And when I find things that I do enjoy, I tend to be very zealous and intensely focused on them. Consequently, my enthusiasm often overflows into my conversations and interactions with others (AHEM, case in point -this blog!). And reciprocally, sharing my joy or passion for something only further increases that positive affect.

Emma Seppala who studies the science of happiness, health, and social connection wrote about the effects of regularly sharing one’s own happy or grateful experiences with a close friend or partner over an extended period of time. The participants of the study who not only reflected on positive events and emotions, but also shared them with a loved one “reported greater satisfaction with life, happiness, and vitality (level of energy and zest for life).”   She argues that more effective than even remembering or writing down positive events is sharing our happiness with others – “sharing our joy increases joy.”

Sharing Barre

It certainly resonates with me. Since my engagement period was incredibly short, we didn’t have enough time to plan an extravagant bachelorette/hen party three day event or weekend away as seems to be in vogue these days. However thanks to my sister, my mom, and my fabulous friends I did not go without by any stretch of the imagination. We had a full day of nail and pedicure treatments, food and drink, a private barre class (barre-ty), walking around Boston, and a traditional wedding shower. Many of my friends have been friends for many years now (in fact, I had known all of my bridesmaids for at least 10 years at that point), however a lot of them originate from different aspects or arenas of my life and have either never met or do not know one another well.

One of my favorite memories of the whole weekend was that shower the night before, sitting at a massive dining room table in the house my parents had rented for the week. It was a huge meeting of so many of my very favorite people and although many of them did not know each other, they wasted no time changing that. Nearly all of them commented to me either that night or in the days that followed how shocked and amazed they were by how utterly amazing each of them are. My “tribe” is a collection of abnormally strong and accomplished women who are also extremely authentic and genuinely good. humans Introducing everyone and sharing my fabulous friends and family was a major highlight and source of wedding bliss for me. There were still about a million and one things to do, changing wine labels, preparing party favors, final dress alterations, and lots of cooking and decorating, but everyone pitched in, eager to help in anyway possible, exchanging stories and laughter throughout it all.

Sharing Friends

In addition to the joy that I felt by sharing my friends with each other, I also was elated to share my favorite city, Boston, and one of my greatest passions – barre! Some were old pros, some had never tried barre before, and some were not in the habit of regularly exercising in any form, but all loved it.   The only thing better than barre it seems, is barre with friends! And this makes sense according to research which shows that sharing an experience with someone else does in fact intensify it and influences how we sense and perceive it. An effect which I suspect is only made stronger when it comes to exercise since your adrenaline and energy is already high. So my advice for anyone who wants to capitalize even further on that “barre high” is to share the experience with a friend.

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