Yay is a word (usually accompanied by at least one exclamation point) that I find myself saying and writing rather frequently (some might say too frequently). When I was much younger, and infinitely more worried about what others thought of me and of what I said, I couldn’t imagine saying Yay! as often as I do now that I’m over 50. In fact, my smiles weren’t so frequent back then either. I was worried that the powers that be would view me as frivolous, and wouldn’t take me seriously enough, while I was trying to build a career in a male-dominated industry. I mean, after all, isn’t Yay something kids say?

On Facebook, when I want to encourage, cheer, applaud, acknowledge, or convey my appreciation for the comments of another–simply and meaningfully–the only word that comes to mind is Yay! When my daughters come home from school with good news about a grade, I respond with a loud Yay! (and a big hug). What do they do? They say Yay! right back to me. I’m telling you, it’s catching.

Saying Yay! to someone makes them feel good. Just as important, saying Yay! makes ME feel good. And why not? It’s a simple expression of pure, unadulterated joy, all rolled up in a powerful little word.

And, it’s contagious. A friend liked the word so much, she started a Yay! Club page on Facebook. Hundreds of  have joined in, and use it to post their own good news about weddings, births, new jobs, or recipes, or photos of their latest knitting or art projects. How do we all respond? With a resoundingYAY!

There have been many studies done and books written about the power of positive thinking, and how it effects our mood, even our health. But for some of us, especially those who are going through hard times, which can happen even more frequently as we age, it may not always be possible to think about the positives. It IS easy, though, to say Yay! Say it to a friend, to your partner, to your child, to a stranger on the train, and you’ll be helping to spread one of the most basic of all human emotions–happiness.

No matter how tough life gets, there’s always something you can Yay! about, even the weather or getting home from work in time to watch the latest episode of “NCIS.” Or, for me, just sitting and knitting (one of my favorite things to do), enjoying a fabulous dinner, seeing a rainbow, playing backgammon with one of my daughters, my family, my dog, my friends. Just being alive.

Try it, and be attuned to how more people in your life start saying it, too. One Yay will beget another and before you know it … it’s gone viral.


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