Unlock Creativity and Resilience: The Benefits of Finding Delight

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Northern Lights

Joy Matters: A Legal Professional’s Guide to Finding Delight in Small Things


I’ve been trying to see the Northern Lights for years. I have an app to alert me when a sighting is possible. I’m in the “Aurora Chasers” Facebook group. Every time I’d hear the lights might be visible, I’d hop in the car and drive north in hopes of seeing them, to no avail. Ever.

This past weekend, you might have heard that most of North America had a chance to see the lights, so I hoped this was my shot. I chased them all around the Twin Cities (in Minnesota, where I live) on Friday night with limited success, even though I drove far beyond city lights in the middle of the night to try to find a dark spot for viewing.

On Saturday, my college-age daughter was home for the weekend for a family graduation, so on a whim we decided to go to our family cabin about two hours north to see if we could catch a glimpse of the elusive sky show. In the wee hours of the morning, I was doing one last check before giving up and going to bed, and there they were. I rushed back up to the cabin from the lake to wake up my sleeping daughter and in-laws, and we all got to sit by the lakeside and enjoy a stunning display.

When the lights really started showing and dancing, my daughter snapped a picture of me literally jumping up and down along the beach with a deep sense of joy, delight, and awe. I was as giddy as a kid on a snow day (or as a kid in a candy store, for those of you in warmer climates), and I felt it in my entire body. It was incredible, and as an adult, these feelings of delight and joy seem few and far between.

The whole experience made me pause and think about the profound impact of finding delight in small things. As lawyers and legal professionals, we often face high-stress environments and demanding workloads. However, research shows that incorporating moments of joy into our lives can have significant benefits for our well-being and professional performance.


Why Delighting in Small Things is Good for Us

  • Reduces Stress and Enhances Well-Being

Science tells us that moments of joy can reduce stress and increase overall well-being. When we experience joy, our brains release dopamine and endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. This can lower cortisol levels, reducing stress and its harmful effects on our health.

  • Boosts Resilience

Experiencing delight helps build emotional resilience. When we find joy in small things, we develop a more positive outlook, which can help us bounce back from setbacks and challenges more effectively. This is crucial in the legal profession, where resilience is key to managing the pressures of the job. 

  • Improves Relationships and Team Dynamics

Sharing moments of joy with others strengthens relationships and improves team dynamics. Positive social interactions increase oxytocin levels, fostering trust and cooperation among team members. This can lead to a more harmonious and productive work environment.

  • Enhances Creativity and Problem-Solving

Joy and positive emotions have been linked to increased creativity and improved problem-solving skills. When we are in a good mood, we are more likely to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to complex legal problems.

  • Increases Engagement and Productivity

Feeling joyful and engaged at work can lead to higher productivity. Studies have shown that employees who experience positive emotions are more focused, motivated, and efficient in their tasks.


How to Find Delight in Small Things, Alone and Together

  • Mindful Moments

Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness. Focus on the present moment and appreciate the small pleasures around you, whether it's the warmth of your morning coffee, the beauty of a blooming flower, or the sound of your favorite song. Share these moments with your team by starting meetings with a short mindfulness exercise or simply sharing something positive that happened to you.

  • Gratitude Journaling

Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you are grateful for each day. Reflecting on positive experiences, no matter how small, can enhance your overall sense of well-being and happiness. Encourage your team to do the same and share their entries in team meetings to foster a culture of appreciation and positivity.

  • Engage in Hobbies

Make time for activities that bring you joy. Whether it's reading, gardening, painting, or playing a musical instrument, engaging in hobbies can provide a much-needed break from work and boost your mood. Organize team-building activities that allow everyone to share and explore their hobbies together, strengthening bonds and creating a more cohesive team.

  • Share Joy with Others

Share moments of joy with your colleagues and loved ones. Celebrate small victories, express appreciation, and create opportunities for positive interactions. Host regular team celebrations for achievements, birthdays, or even just for fun. These moments of shared joy can strengthen your relationships and create a supportive work environment.

  • Nature and Outdoors

Spend time in nature and enjoy the outdoors. Whether it's a walk in the park, a hike, or simply sitting by the lake, being in nature can reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness and contentment. Plan team outings that involve outdoor activities, providing everyone with a refreshing break from the office and a chance to connect in a different setting.


Incorporating moments of delight into our lives can have enormous effects on our well-being and professional success. By finding joy in small things, we can reduce stress, build resilience, enhance our relationships, boost creativity, and increase productivity. 

So, take a moment to find the things that make you dance with giddy joy like I did under the Northern Lights last weekend, and let these moments of delight enrich your personal and professional life. 

And when you encourage your team to join you on this journey of finding joy in the little things, you'll create a more connected, positive, and thriving work environment.