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4 Ways to Feed Joy Hunger

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

I read an article recently about a concept that I want to share with you:

Joy Snacking

Surprisingly, joy snacking is not about sneaking candy or chips from the pantry.

It’s about tuning into and snacking on the pleasant. Not in our mouth, but in our minds.

Most of us are connoisseurs at tuning into and consuming the unpleasant - things like:

Bad news and doom scrolling

Meaningless distractions

Social media rabbit holes

Mental forecasts of worst case scenarios

Mental replays of upsetting conversations, mistakes, regrets

How do we feel after consuming these? Like we pulled an all-nighter at an all-you-can-eat greasy spoon and aren't sure what we were thinking.

What a wonderful idea to consciously snack on JOY.

Many of us treat joy like we do dessert. You can have your joy AFTER.

After the long week.

After the project’s over.

After the kids leave the nest.

After the long career.

After. After. After.

We treat joy like it must be earned.

And that’s too bad, because research shows that when we consistently claim moments of joy in our daily life, we not only feel happier in the life we’re living now but also live longer. We establish the building blocks for a life worth living later.

But, seriously, who has time for joy?


That’s where the concept of joy snacking comes in.

We’re not talking here about binging on 5-course joy dinners that might present as a weekend away with friends, playing hooky from work to go hiking, or going on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica (for those who find joy in pretzeling themselves in the jungle).

We’re talking about a grab-n-go joy snack that gives you the sweet taste of being alive in the pleasant of the present. And typically costs no more than a minute or 2 of our time.

Here are 4 ways humans are uniquely wired to generate joy in the moment:

  1. Positively connect with others or ourselves

  2. Connect with nature, animals or a sense of wonder

  3. Take stock of what we’re thankful for or appreciate

  4. Take in and savor a pleasant moment or identify and focus our attention on one pleasant thing about the current moment

What might the above look like in the form of a joy snack?

Here are possibilities, but yours might be different:

  • Reach out to someone you care about — even as a text - to let them know how much you appreciate them or that you’re thinking about them

  • Validate or high-five yourself for a personal “win” of any scale

  • Take a short walk focusing on nature’s sights, sounds, smells, or textures

  • Pause to notice something you’re grateful for and express it out loud

  • “Raise a glass” at the dinner table to acknowledge something or someone

Joy can be generated when we are fully in the present moment, conscious of what we are feeding our mind.

Shifting out of consuming the unpleasant to actively consuming something pleasant is something we can do for ourselves anytime, on any deadline or budget.

Hungry for more joy?

Ask yourself these questions and let the snacking begin:

  • What is something I could do right now to sample joy snacking? Do it. (If this is tough, you might want to create a pause, take a few deep breaths, and try again).

  • What unpleasant things do I tend to mentally snack on that I’d like to limit my consumption of? What is 1 that I choose to actively reduce starting now? How will I set myself up for success and hold myself accountable?

  • What kind of joy do I tend to deny myself? How could I create a joy snack out of this that can give me a regular taste of it, if I can’t have the whole of it right now?

  • What is one way I choose to make joy snacking part of my daily diet? How will I set myself up for success and hold myself accountable?

I hope this inspires you to find a little more joy in your every day.

If you would like to have a bigger conversation about carving out time for joy or pursuing more purpose or meaning in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss coaching.


For more on joy snacking, here’s the article by Richard Sima that inspired today’s missive.

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