There is a new term making it’s way around the social science circles: freudenfreude. Freudenfreude is a term inspired by the German word for “joy” and it describes the bliss we feel when someone else succeeds, even if it doesn’t directly involve us. In a recent New York Times article professor Catherine Chambliss says freudenfreude is like social glue in that it makes relationships more intimate and enjoyable.
The same article cites Erika Weisz, an empathy researcher and postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Harvard University, who shared that this feeling closely resembles positive empathy — the ability to experience someone else’s positive emotions. A small 2021 study examined positive empathy’s role in daily life and found that it propelled kind acts, like helping others. Sharing in someone else’s joy can also foster resilience, improve life satisfaction and help people cooperate during a conflict.
So, that challenge for you today, where can you experience a little Freudenfreude? Need help? Check out Dr. Chambliss’ Freudenfreude Enhancement Training!