the BIG JOY project



Micro-acts of JOY





Top 12 participating countries


What should I expect when I sign up to participate in The BIG JOY Project?

We designed The BIG JOY Project to guide you through a series of activities — micro-actions, really — over the course of 7 days (plus a bonus day the day you sign up).

Each day you will be given an opportunity to tell us how you're feeling in the morning, and then given a micro-act of JOY exercise. Each micro-act of JOY takes only a few minutes — you might make a list, watch a video, or do a small activity in the real world. Afterward, we'll ask you to reflect on the thoughts and feelings you had while doing the micro-act of JOY. After you do your daily micro-act of JOY, we'll invite you to do another check-in right away, and a final check-in in the evening.

Completing these check-ins is important because:

  1. We truly DO care about how you're feeling at any given moment — otherwise we wouldn't bother to create this project and would just lie on a beach instead.
  2. The more check-ins you complete, the more robust your individualized JOY Report will be at the end of your 7 days!
  3. Your before and after emotions will help scientists uncover the next frontier of knowledge about the nature of JOY and how we all can most effectively create it for ourselves.

To make sure you don't miss out on anything, we'll send you an email reminder to participate in The BIG JOY Project every morning at roughly 8am, and every evening at roughly 6pm.

On the day you sign up, we'll start you off with a check-in and an introductory micro-act of JOY so that you can get a taste of what the full week will be like. Once you complete that first micro-act of JOY, we'll ask you a series of questions — we call this creating a profile — to help us get to know you and to establish a baseline for your current well-being. And, you can choose whether to take part in the largest-ever citizen science project that is a part of The BIG JOY Project!

We hope you'll take the time to answer the profile questions, because we'll ask some of those same questions again after you complete your final micro-act of JOY on day 7. By comparing your answers, and the check-ins you do each day, we can provide you with a personalized JOY Report that will let you see at a glance which micro-acts of JOY worked best for you, and how your feelings changed over the course of the week. It's our hope that you will find some micro-acts of JOY you can do again and again, creating JOY for yourself any time you could use some!

Help! I'm having trouble advancing after Check In 2, or with creating my profile.

We're so sorry you're having trouble! Some participants have reported that they don't see an advance button after the second check in on the day they sign up, or can't finish creating their profile. The usual cause for this is not having consented to the use of cookies on the website.

Unfortunately, some features simply won't work without cookies. If you'd like continue with The BIG JOY Project, you will need to consent to the use of cookies.

Here's how to check whether you denied consent, and change that setting:

  • In the same browser you're using to access The BIG JOY Project, go to
  • Scroll down the page until you see the phrase "Your current state." If it says "Deny," you did not consent to cookies.
  • Just below, click on the "Change your consent" link.
  • The consent dialog will appear at the bottom of the page, showing Accept or Deny buttons. Click Accept.
  • Return to and resume your program. You may have to log in again. Once you do so, things should look normal and you should be able to proceed.

If this didn't solve the problem, please reach out to us at, and describe your experience. We'll do our best to get you going right away!

Concerned about accepting cookies? We understand. Lower on this page, you can find information about the data we collect from you and how we protect it, along with links to our privacy policy. We're happy to answer questions on this topic as well.

I missed a day of The BIG JOY Project. Can I go back and complete it later?

No problem at all! We understand, life can get busy. Just keep going the next day. No one is going to scold you. You'll still receive your next micro-act of JOY the next day (unless your 7 days are completed). We're not stingy with the JOY.

Right now we are putting the finishing touches on a list of all of the micro-acts of JOY that are contained in The BIG JOY Project that we'll email to each participant, including YOU. That way you can go back and try whichever ones you may have missed — and do your favorites again and again!

Since we are gathering data for scientific research, we need to be careful about the timing with which the data regarding each micro-act of JOY is collected, so after a day has passed, you can't go back and complete it later through the BIG JOY website until you've actually completed the entire program. But after you finish the entire program, you'll be able to log into The BIG JOY Project anytime to repeat practices you enjoy, or do practices you missed. And when you receive the micro-acts of JOY list in your email, we dare you to see how many times you can try each one!

And no feeling guilty about missing a day, please! The point of all of this is to help you feel BETTER, not worse. We're just happy that we found you at all, so that we could pass on the good news that there are ways we can each create more JOY for ourselves.

Do I still receive a JOY Report if I miss a day (or 2 or 4 days)?

YESSS! JOY Reports for everyone! You'll still receive a report. Of course, the more days you complete, the more data your JOY Report will be based on, with the potential for more insights for you. But it will be an interesting read regardless of how many days you complete.

The important thing for receiving a report is that you answer the survey questions at the end of your 7 days, since we need that information to compare with the answers you provided while creating your profile and complete your individualized report. Yes, even if you've only completed one day. You still get a JOY Report as long as you complete the beginning survey questions and the end survey questions.

Do I have to do the check-ins at night (Check-in #3)?

When you do the check-ins at night, we get a better sense of which micro-acts of JOY truly do help you — specifically YOU, you 'masterpiece in the making' — create more JOY. This information will help make your individualized JOY Report — that you receive at the end of your 7 days — even more illuminating for you . That's worth 30 seconds of effort, right?

At the same time, one of the key pieces of wisdom we would love for each BIG JOY participant to take with them is that we each have at least some control over which emotions we're feeling. A fancy way of saying that is that we have agency. So, of course you are free to do or not do the check-ins. But we want you to feel more JOY, so you know what we're hoping for you.

Can I do The BIG JOY Project again?

It's fun, right? We like to do it again and again, too. Right now that means only offline (repeating the micro-acts of JOY included in the 7 days on our own, not on the BIG JOY site), not online. Analog, not digital.

Unfortunately, we have not yet built out the tech for you to be able to repeat The BIG JOY Project online, but we hope to be able to complete that soon. (We're currently raising money through donations in order to add cool features like this, to help you create more JOY.)

Consolation prize: Once you've completed the entire program, you'll be able to log into The BIG JOY Project anytime to repeat practices you enjoy, or do practices you missed. And, we're almost finished with an email list of all of the micro-acts of JOY that are contained in The BIG JOY Project, and we'll email that out to anyone who has signed up. If you entered your email for The BIG JOY Project, even if you didn't complete any of the micro-acts of JOY online, you will still get the full list of practices to use to create JOY whenever you wish! This information is for everyone. It's your birthright.

Is there a cost to participate in The BIG JOY Project?

NO! Nein! Hapana! Not a chance!

It's completely free of charge for everyone. The JOY Team raised money from generous donors (and is still raising money for more enhancements and to spread the word to every corner of the globe) to underwrite the costs associated with creating The BIG JOY Project. (If you'd like to donate to The BIG JOY Project specifically, please email and we'll be in touch ASAP.)

I did the micro-act of JOY for the day, and I didn't feel any better. What's wrong?

First, a micro-act of JOY that doesn't result in JOY for you doesn't mean anything negative about YOU, you wonderful human.

Second, there are a lot of different things going on in each of our lives at any given point in time, so just because that particular micro-act of JOY didn't seem to have a positive effect for you today, it may on another day. You might want to give that one a try next week just to see how you feel. It doesn't hurt to try, and could potentially make you smile. No downside.

Third, sometimes there is a delayed reaction of sorts. Something we do early in the day may seem inconsequential at the time, but later we have an elevated mood. (Yes, you figured it out: that's why we ask you to complete that quick check-in at night.)

Fourth, it's possible that this particular micro-act of JOY is not the most effective for YOU. While science shows that each of the micro-acts of JOY have at least some positive effect for many people, we know that the amount of positive effect differs from person to person for each micro-act of JOY. But scientists do not yet know WHY. Do things like age and geography make a difference? By participating in BIG JOY, you're helping us find out!

Fifth, and most importantly, if you feel like you need more help, please do not hesitate to reach out for trained mental health care!

The BIG JOY Project can help us create more JOY for ourselves, and serve as on-ramps for deeper conversations about mental health, but it is not the same support as what you may need if you are experiencing a mental health crisis or are seeking to treat or prevent a mental health condition.

Here are organizations that specialize in helping everyone get the mental health assistance they need:

In North America:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or

Crisis Text Line In the US: Text HOME to 741-741 / In Canada: Text 686868

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelife In the US: Call or text 988

The JED Foundation

In Other Regions:
United for Global Mental Health works with mental health organizations in every region of the world.

Why am I asked to show how I'm feeling in two ways?

Screenshot of the BIG JOY Project Check In ScreenIt's a bit of a mind-bender, right? It was for us, too, at first, but it's actually very cool. Science shows that we experience more than one emotion at the same time. For example, at the very same instant, we could be feeling hopeful when the doctor says our broken leg will heal quickly, and worried about how to continue our normal activities while on crutches. The feeling of hope existing in our minds does not erase the feeling of worry, and both can exist in the same moment.

It's helpful for our own self-knowledge and also for the scientific study that we become aware of all our feelings. Some micro-acts of JOY are better at decreasing less-pleasant emotions, and some are better at amping up more pleasant emotions. Both approaches can increase our sense of well-being.

What are scientists trying to discover?
  • Does performing micro-acts of JOY change how people feel in the short-term?
  • Does completing a micro-act of JOY early in the day sustain benefits over the course of the whole day?
  • Does performing micro-acts of JOY have an additive effect over the whole week?
  • How does each micro-act of JOY impact positive affect and negative affect, and the balance between the two? This will help us understand what helps relieve stress and sadness vs. what boosts JOY, vs. what changes both?
  • Which micro-acts of JOY work best on average and for which type of people?
  • Do we see differences by age, race/ethnicity, sociodemographics, geography, and baseline levels of well-being and life stress?

Another question you might be asking is why the scientists want to learn these things. The answer is exactly why we created The BIG JOY Project: they and we want to help everyone improve their own lives and well-being! Even if you aren't experiencing a difficult time in your life today, we know that everyone will experience times when they need a boost of JOY. And even if your life is chock full of JOY today, there's always room for more! It's important to us, and to the scientists, to help provide tools anyone can use to live happier, healthier lives.

How is my data protected?

There are two kinds of data you provide by participating in The BIG JOY Project — your name, contact information, country are one type. The content you create by answering questions, doing check-ins, and completing micro-acts of JOY is another. We call the latter user-generated content.

We'll add your name and email to the Mission: JOY mailing list, and we'll use your contact information (either email or phone or both, depending on what you choose to provide) to send you reminders as you participate in The BIG JOY Project. But we will never sell that information or share it with anyone else, and you may opt out of this type of communication at any time.

Unless you choose to participate in the citizen science project behind The BIG JOY Project, any content — user-generated content — created while completing your micro-acts of JOY or your check-ins will only be seen by you, and possibly by our customer support team if you write in with a problem we need to figure out for you.

If you choose to participate in scientific research, your answers, check ins, and survey questions will be reviewed by us and by scientists as they crunch the data to learn more about the science of happiness. But when that content is accessed, we remove personally identifiable information like your name and contact details to protect your privacy.

All the data and content of The BIG JOY Project is encrypted and stored on web services configured to keep your information from being viewed or accessed by third parties. We all know that security breaches do happen, and although we make every effort to prevent them, all information stored on any website is subject to some risk, but we take security and privacy very seriously and make every industry standard effort to protect you and what you share with us. Please feel free to review the Mission: JOY privacy policy, and the GGIA terms & conditions to learn more.

I need help!

If you run into a problem or have a question about any aspect of The BIG JOY Project, send us an email at We're happy to help, and we're working hard to improve the experience of participating in The BIG JOY Project all the time.

How is The BIG JOY Project funded?

The JOY Team has raised funds from generous individual donors to underwrite the cost of creating The BIG JOY Project so far, and keep it free of charge for everyone to participate. We're currently raising additional funds to enhance the user experience, reach more people, and further analyze the data and share the results. If you would like to help fund The BIG JOY Project specifically, please contact us at and we'll be in touch with you immediately.

What is Mission: JOY?

Mission: JOY - Finding happiness in troubled times

Mission: JOY - Finding Happiness in Troubled Times is a film featuring two of the most revered global icons, who joined forces one last time to share ancient wisdom and cutting-edge neuroscience that shows us exactly how we can each access more joy, no matter our circumstances.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared their wisdom (and humor) through this laugh-out-loud funny documentary film, inspired by their international bestseller, The Book of Joy.

The film has been selected for 42 film festivals and counting in the US, Canada, Nigeria, Brazil, Israel and Greece. So far it has won 5 Audience Awards and 2 Jury Awards and has been featured numerous times as the opening night or closing night feature.

The film has been featured at Goals House - UN General Assembly, New York Times Climate Hub / Natural History Museum Nature Bar at COP26, and the Nobel Organization will be screening the film in March 2022.

How can I watch the film?

We're excited for you to see the film at a film festival either online or in-person (there are more added every day!), or by hosting a screening of the film at your college / university, community group, faith communities, or workplace.

Generous donors have underwritten the costs of making the film available to certain audiences free of charge. If you want to Pay it Forward so that others can see the film for free, too, go to

Why didn't my day advance on January 20th, 2024?

On January 20, 2024, some participants in BIG JOY Project were not advanced to the current day and offered the day's activities. We really apologize for this unusual website glitch! Late in the day we rolled out a fix that should have advanced you to the proper day. You can now go to to log in and do today's BIG JOY activities.

After logging in or if you are already logged in, please click on the turquoise hamburger menu at the top right on any screen, and select the option that says My BIG JOY. This will take you to the right spot.

However, based on where in the world you are, you may find that you have already missed the timeframe to do the day's micro-act of JOY, since that only remains available until evening. If that happens for you, please don't worry about it -- the program was designed to allow for people to miss a day or even a couple. While you can't go back to make up a missed micro-act of JOY, you will be able to return and do it once you complete the BIG JOY Project and get your BIG JOY Report.

If you log in and find you have not been advanced properly after our fix, please do reach out again to let us know at We're here to make sure you get back on track!


We are sorry for the inconvenience today and hope that you the rest of the BIG JOY Project goes more smoothly.



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