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Self-Help Symbols

Create Joy!!

There will be hard times and mean people. Still, JOY can clear your mind, get rid of pain and give you energy.

Feeling happy might depend on what happens around you.  But JOY is like a little light that glows inside you all the time. It glows no matter what is happening.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that when they died, they would be asked two questions:  “Did you bring Joy?” and “Did you find joy?” Mother Teresa told new workers that in order to stay, they must find the joy deep within themselves. Many people (perhaps most famous is Norman Cousins) have had bad diseases they helped heal with joy, even when regular medicine wasn’t working!


1.  Smile (whether you feel like it or not).  Kids who smile at other people, even when they don’t feel like it, end up feeling better anyway. Scientists did an experiment where they had half the kids force themselves to smile during the day–even at the lunch ladies and library workers. The other half of the kids just smiled if they felt like it. Guess what?  The kids who made themselves smile actually “tricked their brains!” They did get in a much happier mood and had a better day!

2. Laugh.  Laughter releases chemicals that make human brains work better. Being able to see the fun side of things is a special talent. Do something goofy. Try to make someone else laugh before they make you laugh. Turn off the TV and get silly!  Get a laugh bag. Make a laugh recording with your friends or family. How many different kinds of laughs can you make?

3. Read Bumper Stickers. Look for neat bumper stickers. They are short and easy to remember. Write down the best ones and start a collection.

4. Do Favors.  A great bumper sticker says, “Practice Random Acts of Kindness.”  Why not be nice to someone for the heck of it? Do a favor without being asked. Even better, do a mystery favor.  Never let the person know who did the kind act.  You will feel a tingling excitement inside that comes from giving, not getting.  That’s the glow of joy.

5. Be Grateful.  In finding joy, it is very important to remember the things that make you feel good. Lie in bed and see the faces of all the people who have been kind to you. Think about what you like best about your life. Say “Thank You” to others, even your guardian angel.  

6. Think About This:  “I used to feel bad because I had no shoes.  Then I met a man who had no feet.”

Copyright:  Charlene Messenger, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved.

Here is a sample list of some self-help activities associated with one of the Symbols–”Create Joy!”  Such activities are based on both research and my own years of practicing psychology with children. Note that all text for children has been kept at or below third-grade reading level.