Unleashing Trapped Joy (Even When it Feels Scary)

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This week’s episode is just you and me talking about joy. More specifically, we’re talking about trapped joy because I’ve found that sometimes joy is one of our most terrifying feelings. I break down what trapped joy is and how we can start experiencing more joy in our daily lives.

You might be experiencing trapped joy if you’ve ever been on a date and found yourself not wanting to show how happy you are, so you bite the inside of your cheek. Or maybe you’re like me, and it’s really easy to talk about something challenging you’re going through, but sharing what’s great can feel significantly more uncomfortable. 

We’re talking about how to experience and express your joy more fully this week, and it starts with unleashing your trapped joy. I tell the story of how I was terrified to express joy this past Thanksgiving and share my top Joy Inducers right now.

Joy is a theme that appears in many episodes of this show. During this episode, I also reference these episodes: 

💋🎙 Episode 26 with Emily Carter on Rest and Relaxation

💋🎙 Episode 21 with Julie Schoen on Fulfillment 

💋🎙 Episode 18 with Stormy Sweitzer on Wonder, Awe, and Magic

💋🎙 Episode 17 with Dr. Sophia Town on Flourishing

Joy can be contagious. What are your top Joy Inducers? Share them with me in the comments here: https://alyssapatmos.com/show/

Is there a topic you want me to cover on the show? A question you’re dying to ask? Send me a text at (512) 710-5124.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Alyssa Patmos 0:50
Welcome back to another episode of Make It Mentionable. As always, I’m your host, Alyssa Patmos. And unlike episodes in the past, today, it is just a you and I in conversation. So my, the show is run by me. And I have an assistant Shosanna who helps produce the episodes. And from the beginning, we have talked about me doing a solo episode where it’s just you and I. And I’ve resisted it quite honestly, I wasn’t sure exactly what shape it would take form. But this, this is the week, this is the week, there have been a few topics that have come up in other episodes that I wanted to dive into a little bit deeper. So today, we are talking about joy. And more specifically, we’re talking about trapped joy, which is a thing that I have dealt with, for many years. Just why I kind of like came up with the concept. I don’t know, I’m sure someone else uses other language for it. But for me, I call it trapped joy to dive into that. If you’ve listened to other episodes, it’s come up in the one recently with Emily Carter, we’re talking about leisure and rest and and relaxation and how Joy plays into our lives. And then it came up in the episode with Julie Shane as well, when we were talking about fulfillment. And so I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into what the heck is trapped joy. How do we allow ourselves to experience joy? And and what do we do to start experiencing more of it? Because I think joy is something that many of us want more of in our life. But I want to start a story. So So in November, Thanksgiving is in November, yeah, in November, and I get so tired of of the question, what are you grateful for? at Thanksgiving?

Alyssa Patmos 2:56
It seems like that’s the standard question. You know, you go around the table, everybody answers, where do you get grateful for it round robin style. And I decided that I didn’t want to do it like that. So this Thanksgiving was kind of special because it was the first one that I have ever hosted. And I cooked the turkey I cooked everything by myself. And we hosted it at our house. And I was super excited. So Geoff was there his mom was there and and his boys were there. And so I told Geoff, I was like I don’t want to, to use the same standard question. And so we brainstorm together, he was on board, and we brainstorm together a list of different questions. Now, anyone who knows me personally, or if you’ve been following along here, I’m sure you can guess I love intention like love it I’m obsessed with it is a core part of my business is how do we be more intentional? In our lives? It’s a core. It’s a core tenet behind this show as well. I’ve constantly challenging myself to do things by design instead of by default. And when I create anything new, I usually write out like the intention behind it and why are we doing this? And why did I make certain decisions this way? Because it’s massively important to me. And so I wanted to get intentional about the questions that we were gonna go over at Thanksgiving. And and it’s really important for Jeff to continue connection with his kids and I love getting to form my own relationships with them. And we were going to use this as an opportunity for that. So we started brainstorming some questions. And a few of them. I have them right here. So a few of them were Like, what do you most appreciate about someone around the table? Or what is? Who is one person you’re extra appreciative of right now? Where do you need support? What’s something that you discovered you like to this year? And what’s something you’ve been debating starting lately? So Gemini brainstorm these questions, and we put them in this adorable little pumpkin pot. The plan was to see if we could get everyone to go around and draw, jot a question out of our pumpkin pot, and then answer it. And there was there were enough questions for each person to get to. And so shockingly, everyone was on board. I was kind of surprised. I was kind of surprised that everyone was that on board. And they were willing to, to really think about the questions which, which made me very happy. It brought me joy. The hilarious part is that I, when it was my turn, I wrote the question. And when I wrote it, I was like, I hope I don’t get this question. And of course, it’s the question that I got. And that question is what’s bringing you the most joy right now? And it seems like, that should be something easy to answer, right? What’s what’s bringing you the most joy, but trap to joy. Trapped joy is a thing. And, and so I had a really hard time answering, like, all of a sudden, I got really nervous. And I like my hands started sweating. And I’m sure I turned multiple shades of red, and the boys started laughing at me. And I knew my answer, but it was really, really hard for me to express it. And this is what I mean by trapped joy. And so if you’re dying to know my answer, at the time was actually was actually family and like being able to be in this space and host the Thanksgiving and having everyone there and enjoying getting to build relationships with with the rest of Jeff’s family. And so my answer was what’s bringing you the most right now, like the family was which I had such a hard time saying I think it took I think it took me probably like four minutes to actually be able to say what I was what I was trying to say.

Alyssa Patmos 7:43
And, and, and I wonder why that’s the case. And if I wanted to sound like Merriam Webster, you know, the dictionary, and might define chapter joy as like the experience of not feeling comfortable expressing or fully experiencing your joy. The experience of not feeling comfortable expressing or fully experiencing your joy. And I think you know, Joy is this joy, happiness, we’re obsessed with it as a society work. There are tons of clickbait articles on like, five ways to increase your happiness. And yet, my question is like, okay, but if we have more of it, do we actually know how to allow ourselves to experience it? So when I was there, Thanksgiving, I like get this sensation. I know, it’s hard for me to experience this has happened to me in other areas, too. Like, when Geoff and I first started dating, I would find myself like being happy, like being joyful. And then all of a sudden, I would, I would be like biting inside of my cheats, like trying to prevent myself from smiling. And I think this can happen for many different reasons, like our i, we talked about in the episode with Emily Carter. I don’t know what episode number that is exactly, but I can link it in the show notes. And the episode was Emily Carter on rest and relaxation. And we talked about having a pain tolerance, but similarly, we have a pleasure tolerance. And sometimes it’s not always as high as we would like it to be. We don’t always know how to allow ourselves, you know, the, the level of pleasure that we want. And similarly, we don’t always know how to allow ourselves the level of joy that we seek. And I think this can happen for for different reasons. You know, as a kid, if you’re, if you’re excited about something, and then all of a sudden you have an adult who, who you love and who is tasked with taking care of you is like, well, that’s silly. You know how To interpret that as just their opinion as a kid, and it might shut down your experience of of the joy then or maybe, you know your parent is Uber Uber practical. And so you would get excited about something and then be really joyful about it. And then they would just step in with, like, the pragmatic, or practical application or try to get you to think about what could go wrong. And so in those scenarios, it makes sense that, that our ability to experience our joy could be decreased. I clearly I have a thing. So if you’ve been on my email list, which is the peel newsletter, for any amount of time, there is likely a chance that you have heard me talk about the fact that I wasn’t able to listen to anything about Christian music until I was in high school, I grew up in a very religious household. I’m not religious anymore. If you are, that’s cool. And, and it’s just something that I’m not, I’m not interested in in the same way that I was raised. And so I was only able to listen to Christian music growing up. And so as a kid, like, if I got excited about a song, no one was going to know the song. And similarly, when everyone else was talking about like, the Backstreet Boys or Spice Girls, like I had no idea what they were talking about, because my mom took away my Spice Girls CD. So, as a kid, I, I didn’t always know how to share what I was excited about because it wasn’t accepted or known by other other people. And so I’ve kind of been a contrarian since I was a kid for possibly a force to contrarian and then, and then I realized, like, oh, there are some benefits to this. So anyway, back to my point about Chapter joy. There are different reasons why it can manifest and why it can be hard for us to experience our our joy. But I think that knowing that it’s really important for us to cultivate and practice expressing expressing joy and allowing ourselves to experience it, like, Do you guys ever do this? Do you ever find yourself feeling like it’s harder for you to be happier feeling like, it’s harder for you to share the happy thing than it is for you to share something that might be more painful or sad? Or like, boring? I don’t know.

Alyssa Patmos 12:42
I think that that a lot of times, you know, that was what happened at Thanksgiving where it was, it was, I could really easily answer the question, where do you need support? But when it came around to what’s bringing you the most joy right now, that’s when I clammed up? And, yeah, so I want to know, do you ever catch yourself doing this? So the flip side of, of joy, the thing that I loved that came up in the conversation with Julie Schoen, on fulfillment, was somewhere in that conversation, Julia and I wandered to exploring what if enjoyment is about like being in your joy? And how do we recognize when we’re in our joy? So back to intentional for a moment, we have to get intentional about what brings us joy, because I also think with social media, there’s so much pressure. And so much like, prioritization of our eyeballs. So one, there’s so much pressure because other people are posting images all the time. And so if we’re constantly seeing this thing that we think is bringing someone else joy, it can, it can influence our definitions of joy, and what we think we we want, and especially when our eyes are involved, because our eyes like taking so much stimulus, and it paints this picture and it it awakens things in us, but sometimes, when that picture is painted for us by someone else, we don’t actually take the time to think about what our own picture would look like. And so when it comes to being enjoy, that is a really personal experience. And, and if we’re flooding our minds with just images of what brings someone else joy, there, it’s likely influencing us at an unconscious level. With what with what we think should make us happy. And if you’ve heard any of the episodes with Jeff and I, you know, I am not about the shoulds like the word should is Basically banned in our house, we don’t say it. I don’t like it. It’s often associated with shame and judgment. And yes, anyway, I will, I will refrain from going on my show tangent at the moment, but maybe I should do oops, maybe I will do another episode on on shoulds. So, anyway, cultivating that there’s cultivating the expression of joy. And then there’s also recognizing what brings you joy. And when it comes to like, dreaming and knowing what you want, knowing what brings you joy is, is a critical first step. Because if you’re not going to enjoy it, it’s not it’s not sustainable. Or at least if you’re not going to enjoy piece of it, pieces of it. It’s, it’s not going to end up being sustainable. So, so I want to know, what are some things that bring you joy? I’m going to share a few of mine. And I would challenge you use what I’m about to share as like a sparking ground for what what brings you joy rather than like a comparison. So, Joy inducers What are your joy inducers some of mine, and I love I love like the word induce, like what induces joy in in your life. And, and it doesn’t always have to be this thing where you like instantly know how to feel it like something can cause us something causes us to feel joy. So So what is the joy inducer? For me, fresh air, like at the top of the list, one of the top things is fresh air, there is a joke in this household that I have to be walked, I can walk myself, but sometimes I have to go on a walk with Geoff.

Alyssa Patmos 16:59
But if I haven’t been on a walk by like three o’clock in the afternoon, it reflects in my mood, because fresh air is so important to me, we have a terrorist’s and from our living room, there are sets of double doors that open up to the terrace and one of my favorite things is to work with those doors open because it lets in fresh air. There’s nothing I hate more than just feeling like I’m trapped in a box all day long. And And this reminds me of one of the very first episodes of the show that we did and it’s about the importance of of your home and we talked a lot about the the environment that you set up. So what brings me joy is his fresh air in the house. And also the plants that we have inside like my orchid, Olivia, who you know, we always talked about in the show. What else brings me joy, I had to write some of these things down because I knew I was going to forget what brings me joy as I was doing this. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, or on the site, Pardon me while I glance elsewhere at times, integral listening, but you’re one of the people who likes to watch. If you didn’t know this show is also recorded as a video and you can view it on YouTube or on my site Alyssa patmos.com forward slash show. Okay, anyway, back to Joy Inducers. So, cooking, cooking brings me so much joy. Jeff and I debated going carnivore, which is basically a diet where you’ll need me for a few or we debated doing it again, a few months ago, I have done it in the past when I was like working on some gut stuff. And and he was just reading a book about it. And he wanted to try it. And I since I had done it before I knew it was possible. But this time, honestly, I had a total freaking meltdown. Because I felt like all of my creativity in the kitchen and cooking was gonna get taken away. And I wasn’t on board in the same way because cooking brings me so much joy. food in general brings me joy. But cooking especially, I think the other thing associated with food that brings me joy is sharing food. Like some people go out to eat and they never share food with their boyfriend or their girlfriend or spouse or partner. And I’m like, it’s always interesting to me, because Jeff usually share food. And I think the interesting thing about it for me is, you know, when you eat at home and you you’re eating dinner around the table together, you’re usually eating the same meal, like one person cooks, or maybe you cook together and everyone’s sort of eating the same thing. And so you can’t you’re experiencing it together and you can talk about it together. But when you go out to eat and you’re eating different things, then a piece of that experience is missing and It’s a piece that I really love. I also love getting to talk about the food. So sharing food brings me joy. And what else? There is one time whenever I think about joy, there is one time that Jeff went out. And he surprised me. He brought me back a Macron. Okay, seriously, I know, like four things on this list are food related. But this one is tied to tied to thought. And, you know, when other people demonstrate that they’ve thought about me, even in the smallest way, like he just surprised me with a Macron and a coffee from Starbucks. And it still sticks out as one of those moments where I was just so filled with joy. Let’s see what else is on here. Espresso martinis. Again, it relates to food. But it’s more about the experience. I get so much joy from trying different ones. I only drink like, once a week. But I get a lot of joy of trying espresso martinis in different cities. And they’re like totally making a resurgence right now. And they are not all created equal, let me tell you, but I was obsessed with the espresso martinis. Like years and years ago, before they started making the resurgence. It was my favorite drink at this place in Austin. It was a coffee shop called housing one that I loved going to and working from. Another thing that brings me joy is like being able to work in outer places at times. I talk about how in college, I would do homework at a sports bar that my friend was a waitress that something about like the loud, having the loud noise around me, and I’ll listen to loud bar noise on YouTube. Because it helps me helps me work better. In fact, in fact, Jeff and I went to a restaurant and we went to a restaurant in where were we Manhattan Beach? recently? I think it’s called.

Alyssa Patmos 21:55
I can’t remember what it’s called at the moment. I want to say it was called salt. But I have reservations at a place in Boulder called that so I could I could be very, very wrong. Anyway, at this restaurant, oui, oui. It was like the perfect ambience, it was the perfect sound level that I would want to work in. So I took out my phone, and I hit record on a voice memo because I was like, I want to listen to this. Again, and I liked the vibe of that place. I could hear some of the conversations but not well at all by any means. And I figured why not have my own recording instead of just the standard barn Wiseman on YouTube. So So it’s things like this that bring me joy, deep conversations, recording this show, whether it is a solo episode like this, where it’s you and I in conversation or, or with someone who I’m I’m interviewing, or who’s a guest, I love recording the show, it brings me so much joy, like I come off of one of these and I run out to the kitchen and I usually am like, that was so so so fine. Like I have this burst of of energy. And so recording this brings me a ton of joy. And of course, keto hazelnut butter cups, yes. Okay. Anything of something that’s outside the food range. Walking, walking brings me a ton of joy. It’s such an amazing, amazing activity for us to do for our brains and for movement. And just like getting to see different things and engage in a way where it’s like, Okay, I’m going to be intentional about like, looking at shades of green right now. And what do I what do I see? We talked about the power of walking in the episode was stormy, about wonder and awe and going on wonder walks. And I think walks also came up in a powerful way in the episode with Dr. Sophia town. I can’t remember for sure, but I know that she is an equal lover of walks and so walking brings me joy, whether it’s by myself or with someone. Yes, the movement and the fresh air combines two things I love.

Alyssa Patmos 24:24
Alright, so those are some things that bring me joy. And being aware of what brings us joy individually is so so so important. And and it allows us to recognize like where where we find pleasure and when we can recognize what brings us joy and start to appreciate that then I think it gets a little bit easier to to express it. But again, the experiencing of it and the expressing of it are two different things. But I think that sometimes when we don’t allow ourselves to fully express it, we diminish the experience of it, especially in the moments like I talked about when you know, Geoff and I first started dating where I’m like biting the inside of my cheek, because then I’m not letting him see the joy, either I’m holding, I’m holding back from that in some sense. And that, that keeps the joy from being contagious in a way where it could be if I was able to fully express it. So it’s something that I’m constantly working on. And the first part of it is allowing myself to actually be enjoy, and have things that that bring and induce joy in my life. And I try to, I try to focus on okay, what are what can you do with joy today? Like, how can I induce joy in my life today? And asking myself that question, then, you know, it can be it can be different things, sometimes it would feel joyful to play a game. And so you know, then we can recruit other people into this vision of our joy and make an ask, which is one of the most powerful things we can do, knowing what we want and then asking for it. It’s great, so magical, what happens when you know how to ask for what you want? And so, so asking ourselves, like, how can I induce joy in my life today, maybe it’s a simple walk, maybe it’s playing a game, maybe it’s cooking, maybe it’s going for a drive? That is not something that induces joy in my life, but I know some people like it, which is great, good for you. Um, what, what can induce joy for you today, and sometimes it just starts with that. And then sometimes, I sometimes I have a hard time like articulating what the experience of joy is. Because again, there’s a difference between the experiencing it and the expressing it. And so and so instead of like articulating the whole, the whole thing, sometimes I am just making a point now of saying like, I’m feeling joyful. And usually that’s to Geoff. And so if he wants to question me about it, that’s great. And then I can explain more, but just allowing myself to say like, I’m feeling joy, right now has been a huge opener of allowing me to experience it more deeply by expressing it, even if, because by saying it, sometimes it frees it from wherever I’m holding it in my body. So for example, like, if I say, I’m feeling joy, right now, then, like my facial expression can morph and match instead of me biting the inside of my cheek further.

Alyssa Patmos 27:50
Yeah, so I think sometimes just articulating like, I’m feeling joyful right now is a way to allow us to, okay, recognize it, sink into it, and then allowing the natural expression, to come forth. Trapped a joy, I think, is one of the most painful things we can experience, because it’s it’s suppressing, it’s suppressing this very natural state of being, and something that we so many of us desperately want more of. And so when we can get better at one, recognizing our joy inducers and infusing them more in our life, and to allowing our stuff ourselves to express that joy, even if it’s in a baby step way by just saying, I’m feeling joy right now, then, then we, we open up the container to let the joy out instead of keeping it trapped inside. And that I think is such a magical, magical thing, because it over time, then it rewires our discomfort with joy, and it raises our joy tolerance levels, which is super important. And so if you are someone who, as a kid, you know, you got excited about things, and you were told, like, you get overly excited or why are you so excited about that, or, or that’s silly. We have the opportunity to rewire those things on a continual basis. And what I’ve just shared are two tricks of mine to be able to do that. So I very much would like to know, what are some of your joy inducers what are some of yours? And we continue this conversation over in the comments at AlyssaPatmos.com/Show. I would love to see you there and know what are some of the things that induce joy for you? And like I said at the beginning, this is the first solo ad episode of this show that I have done. And honestly, it was pushing me out of my comfort zone, Sam because I’m so used to having the conversation like, not face to face, but like with the other person on the line and I wanted to have this conversation with you and, and to talk about trap joy in detail. So if you have thoughts or a perspective on this episode format, I would love to know share them with me, you can email me at Alyssa@AlyssaPatmos.com And if you loved this episode, would you please please please please share it with one person you know who could get some value out of it? Or, and or leave a review and a rating it makes it that much easier to spread and share when you become a partner in this show with me. So thank you so much for tuning in. I want to know what are some of your joy inducers Have you ever experienced trap joy? Let’s continue the conversation over at AlyssaPatmos.com/Show and I forgot something if you have a question or a topic that you want me to address, drop me a text at 512-710-5124. Drop me a text at 512-710-5124 and we can work it into the show topic lineup. Thank you. Thank you and I will catch you next week.

Alyssa Patmos 31:27
You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Alyssapatmos.com/thepeel. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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