How to Find Small Moments of Joy in Dark Times

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Sometimes the smallest moments of joy are the only ones that feel possible. That’s what Nora McInerny learned in 2014 when she lost her 35-year-old husband and her father to cancer and her second baby to miscarriage—all within the span of eight weeks.

Her husband, Aaron, was a “naturally buoyant person,” says McInerny, who’s the host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking and author of the upcoming book Bad Vibes Only. “He just had this otherworldly ability to find the fun and the joy in anything,” she says. “I learned from him the importance of staying as present as possible in the moment, even when the moment sucks. Even as he was literally dying, he could make me laugh.” (Among Aaron’s final words to his wife: “I will always be with you … so you need to stop picking your nose.”)

It was a moment she remembers with levity, plucked out of an unbearable time. During these past few years—plagued by political strife, social unrest, and, well, an actual plague—many of us have struggled to even briefly escape morose moods. But experts say that incorporating just a little bit of joy into our lives can disproportionately enhance our well-being by reducing the risk of chronic illness, strengthening the immune system, and combating stress.

“I think joy feels sometimes like a really big emotion—like crazy happiness,” McInerny says. “But it can be a small point of light in the darkness. It doesn’t have to be throwing the light on in the dark.”


https://api.time.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Health1.jpgIllustrations by Brown Bird Design for TIME



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