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Can we “JOY UP” a stressful situation?

Years ago, I was travelling home from Europe with two friends. We were experiencing one delay after another. To add further complication, we had purchased multiple crystal souvenirs that we had to carry on the plane for fear of them breaking. We had also purchased multiple bottles of French champagne packed in our carry on. Yes, this was pre 9/11.

Exhaustion from lack of sleep, muscle fatigue from carrying heavy bags, irritation from stress and disappointment over not getting home to families all started to take over and I lost it with the gate agent. I’m not exactly sure what my “demands” were, but I remember that as I walked away I had an out of body experience wondering who had just done the talking.

My friends were embarrassed. I mean REALLY embarrassed. One of them said—”Deb, you need to JOY UP.” Are you kidding me? We were stuck with all these packages, exhausted and we may be sleeping in an airport overnight. You may have heard the expression, suck it up buttercup or maybe man up? Well, this is the same idea with different terms: JOY UP. This is when we need to find our JOY despite the circumstances and joy up.

What happens when we already have JOY? This is where I invite the distinction of UP JOY from JOY UP.  The UP JOY phenomena is when we already have joy and we keep upping the stake of joy. We continue to build on what we already have. You may have heard me use the expression, “increase your JOY Factor.” Unless your JOY Factor is already at 100%, there is room to up joy.

Here are three of my top tips for JOY UP and UP JOY.


  1. Take three deep breaths in and out. It can be useful to hold the breath for a count of 8 and blow out for a count of 7. I find breathing in through my nose and out of my mouth also increases the effectiveness.
  2. Ask yourself what ONE thing you can do now to apply JOY to the situation. This could be laughter (not the cynical variety), listening to a favorite piece of music, exercise…you get the idea.
  3. Reframe the situation. What is another perspective around what is happening now? I find looking at the situation through another lens to be extremely helpful. Sometimes I even use perspectives from animals. What would a dog say about what is happening right now? A cat? A rabbit? A horse? Try it out. It is more effective than one first thinks.


  1. Share your JOY with someone else. This creates synergy. Two JOYS together make more JOY. You’ve just upped the JOY for both of you as well! (bonus!)
  2. Release what is getting in the way of upping your joy. More joy comes from releasing that which isn’t bringing you to higher levels of joy.
  3. Hang around others who are full of JOY.

I hope you have found these tips to be useful and you see the distinction between JOY UP and UP JOY. Applying each at the right time and place matters.

Blessings, Peace and JOY—


Blessings, Peace and JOY –