The Importance of Joy and Fun In Life

Landsdale County Family Photography

Live Life Lux:

Perspectives From Philadelphia Entrepreneur, Photographer, Author and Speaker Kristen Kidd

The importance of joy and fun in life can easily be lost in our hectic daily living. Prioritizing joy and fun in our adulthood can feel frivolous. In the midst of a never-ending to do list, it’s the first thing to drop off. We wonder, “How could I possibly go for a hike right now? How could I join that club or take that class or go on that vacation?” Sometimes we take it a step further. We label the desires of our hearts as selfish. Surmising that so many around us need so much from us, we couldn’t possibly divert precious resources for our own joy. We can’t “afford” to prioritize our own joy, let alone fun. What science is teaching us (and our inner voice of our highest self, if we listen) is that we can’t afford not to make joy and fun a priority. It is essential to being our best self, living our best life, and doing the best for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us.

Philadelphia Boudoir Photography
Sunday leans into joy and creates space to have fun through her Philly boudoir session experience.

As Simon Sinek says, “Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of use to anyone else.” 

Philadelphia Branding Photography, Hawaii Personal Branding, doctor
Hawaii-based Dr. Bathurst connects to laughter and lightheartedness during her Personal Branding Photo Session.

“With joy your don’t have to put on a happy face.

You can be joyful in the midst of the toughest situations.” – Neal Samudre 

It’s important to differentiate between joy and happiness. Joy is an embodiment and state of being that transcends a feeling. Whereas happiness is a feeling. In a fantastic article in Medium by Neal Samudre, cofounder of Enjoyco and therapist specializing in joy, he differentiates happiness and joy this way, “Happiness is a fleeting emotion based on external circumstances…But joy is an internal positivity that’s connected to hope. It’s the feeling that everything will turn out okay. With joy, you don’t have to put on a happy face. You can be joyful in the midst of the toughest situations.”  

Philadelphia Pet Photography, Senior Dog photography
Jerry celebrates the life and legacy of his senior doggo. Barley was Jerry’s brother’s furry bff and entered Jerry’s life after the passing of his brother. Together they share an indelible love and memory of a soul that meant so much to both of them.

Joy can help ward off the daily grinds to our well-being.

In that same article, Neal shares three reasons joy is essential to our lives. He qualifies each reason with scientific evidence. These reasons include the fact that joy makes us resilient and resistant. He explains, “If resilience is about bouncing back from disturbances then resistance is about being immune to disturbances.”

Of course, we will experience devastation in our lives, but joy can help ward off the daily grinds to our well-being and help us heal when challenges do come our way. Neal shares the third reason joy is essential is because it makes us healthy. Citing research indicating that one of two reasons life expectancy dropped in 2018 was despair and research linking laughter and high-quality relationships to longevity. 

Delaware Pet photography
Delaware client Gail shares that is was the love and joy of her dog Roscoe that got her through cancer treatment. She chose to honor that legacy through a senior dog photo session where she was able to create art that always connected her to the joy that he has brought to her life.

Cultivating a practice of fun can feel like a whole other level of self-absorption. In the face of continual global and personal devastation, who would be so entitled as to make fun a priority? Writer Jack Gilbert answered this best in his poem, A Brief For The Defence,

“If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,

we lessen the importance of their deprivation.

We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,

but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have

the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless

furnace of this world. To make injustice the only 

measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”

Jack Gilbert

In the article How Having Fun Makes You Healthier And Smarter, Outside magazine makes an argument for prioritizing fun citing research that shows playful adults live happier, more satisfying, and healthier lives. As if that weren’t enough, studies have shown that the more you laugh, the longer you’ll live. 

Landsdale County Family Photography
Lansdale sisters take a moment to dance in the rain in their family photo session.

Joy and fun, like every way of being, is a practice.

It takes time, intention, and other resources to cultivate and maintain.

Did you know humor can ­reduce stress-related hormones that suppress the immune system? Outside magazine’s article also shares that when we have fun “the body releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which leads to elevated mood and a healthier cell-proliferation process. Hormonal balance is crucial for our immune system’s strength and our ability to recover after strenuous athletic activity, as is cell growth, which helps the kidneys, lungs, and other organs regulate body functions. Meanwhile, some studies suggest that serotonin released by enjoyable activities could help promote neurogenesis, or cell growth in the brain.”

Philadelphia Boudoir Photography
Krisztina shines in a moment of laughter during her Philadelphia boudoir photo session. She chose to try a new experience and have fun stepping outside of her comfort zone.

So, what brings you joy? Joy and fun, like every way of being, is a practice. It takes time, intention, and other resources to cultivate and maintain. It’s not something that we can phone in or squeeze into our schedules. It starts with a choice and choosing over and over again. We look for joyful moments big and small every day. Talk about it and share it with loved ones.  We’re honest with ourselves about what we want and choose to embrace the desires of our hearts. Then, we create time and space to plan the bigger joyful experiences. Chunking down the bigger pursuits into manageable steps. Even the act of clearing space for big acts of joy and making a baby step towards them is life-changing.

Lehigh County Family Photography
Lehigh County couple Darla and Lou connect through their love of music. Lou serenades Darla with the songs that made her fall in love with him.

One small step at a time, one choice at a time we begin to see joy show up in our lives and become an indelible part of who we are. 

Family, pet, branding, and boudoir photo experiences are one way our clients choose joy. They celebrate the love of family (furry or human), their own personal strength and resilience through their boudoir experience, or the joy of their career achievements and goals through branding and headshot photography.  

What Type Of Photography Session Interests You?*
lux Summit Studio
a couple and their dogs posing for legacy session at Lux Summit Studio

Author : Kristen

Kristen Kidd is founder and co-owner of Lux Summit Studio in North Wales, Pa. She specializes in pet and family photography. She and her husband David, along with their two rescue dogs Hudson and Nito, call Lansdale home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Together their full-service photography studio serves Bucks County, Chester County, Philadelphia County as well as the tri-state area, including New York, Maryland, and Delaware.