'Little moments of joy add up to happiness in the long run'

Can joy be found in things? Do certain shapes or colours make us more joyful than others? Some things like rainbows and confetti are universally joyful, bringing that feeling of excitement to people across the world, from all ages and social backgrounds. While we have increasingly been told that joy comes from within, US designer and writer Ingrid Fetell Lee has spent ten years researching joy and discovered that it can actually come from our outside world.


"Research shows people working in more colourful environments are more alert, more confident and friendlier than people working in drab spaces," she explains. Part of the reason for that, she says, is that bright, colourful places look like they have "the ingredients to sustain life."

Fetell Lee has also learned that we are all born joyful but tend to lose that ability. "We associate many of these aesthetics of joy with childhood and instead of seeing them as childlike we see them as childish. We often think we have to grow out of joy." This is a mistake, she says, as joy is a building block for our happiness.

Fetell Lee’s book "Joyful" has recently been published in French under the title "Voir la beauté du quotidien et s’en emerveiller."

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app