5 Tips for Cultivating Atomic Love & Joy


  • We can experience and cultivate atomic love and joy throughout our day and every day using the 5 tips suggested.
  • Invest in getting to know yourself better. This helps when dealing with adversity.
  • Know what brings you joy and cultivate it! Joy boomerangs!
  • Share love and appreciation. Don’t be afraid to say, “I love you”. Love boomerangs!
  • Teach Better together. Lean on each other for love, encouragement, support, and to bring each other joy.
  • Be relentless and resilient with reflection to build better relationships.

Livia recently joined BreAnn on the Sunday Weekly Warm-up to discuss love, joy, and relationships through every interaction.

Click here to watch!

How do you cultivate love and joy every day and throughout the day?

I wake up every morning feeling happy to be alive. I get to live another day. Once I’m up, I immediately start thinking. I think about my day, my yesterday, and about people in my life. It’s the people in my life who are the best gifts who bring me joy and they make me feel loved.

A couple years ago, I started to see many things around us as gifts. I started a Gift Better blog series that dove into many of these “things” like the gift of leadership, opportunity, gratitude, and happiness, to name a few. Please feel free to check them all out in the blog series!

How do you make others feel?

Learning what brings me joy and then how to cultivate it every day and throughout my day has been life-changing. Here’s an example: As soon as I greet my students outside at the door, I instantly feel like I come alive. It’s like a switch that turns on in my heart. I can’t help it. I love them so I’m so happy to see them! Seeing their smiling faces as they greet me instantly fills my heart with love AND joy. Each one of them is somebody’s most precious person on earth and I get to make an impact on this little one’s life every day.

What an honor, a privilege, and a blessing! I get to not only teach to their brain but to reach them through a connection of our loving hearts. My goals besides teaching SEL and curriculum are to make an imprint on their heart and to teach them essential human skills.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

This is one of my favorite quotes because I learned that making others feel loved is truly what brings me the most joy. Through every single atomic interaction, I see it as an opportunity to uplift others with my love, kindness, and gratitude. I want to brighten their day. When I do, I brighten my own day too. It’s like a joy boomerang! Think about how many interactions we have throughout the day. Now think about how many of these interactions can spark joy through our love! Endless opportunities!

But finding joy through love doesn’t just happen without being so INTENTIONAL about my thoughts, actions, and words. It is done with such PURPOSE. How? Because I deeply believe in living with this passion and purpose to share my love and see people as gifts, I have made it a deliberate habit to have this perspective on every ATOMIC interaction.

Tip #1: Invest time in getting to know and love yourself.

“The relationship you have with yourself is the foundation for ALL the relationships in your life.” – Mel Robbins.

In the past three years, I invested time in getting to know who I am. I can now better understand my strengths, core values, and beliefs. This really helps me in times of adversity to anchor into who I am. Cultivating joy begins with listening and studying me. This has led me to learn what brings me joy too! Once we know, we can learn to cultivate it!

The ABCD’s of getting to know and love yourself:

A = Write down your strengths, core values, and beliefs. Acknowledge and accept who you are and what you might like to improve.

B = Believe in yourself. Sometimes you have to lean on the belief others have in you first. That’s ok! Then use that as fuel to start believing in yourself. “I believe in you” is one of the most powerful things you can say to someone. Say it to yourself!

C = Be your own biggest cheerleader and have self compassion. Be kind and give yourself grace. We are often our own worse critic but we don’t have to be. What words do you choose to say to yourself? Would you say these things to a good friend? Say, “You got this! I believe in you!” Give yourself a high five (learned from Mel Robbins). If it’s not kind, don’t say it to yourself. “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown

D = Discipline. We know we should take care of our bodies by eating healthy, drinking more water, getting more exercise and sleep. Just like these things, we need to be self-disciplined to take care of our own well-being. SO love yourself. Be disciplined to show yourself deep kindness through the acts of every interaction. Let your internal dialogue speak only with atomic love! Make this an intentional habit!

Knowing myself surely helps when dealing with adversity. Anchoring into my strengths, core values, and beliefs, I give it the time, space, and emotions it needs. Then after enough time, I put it on the shelf. To help me set it aside, I ask, “Are these thoughts and feelings serving me? What do I need to do to protect my heart?” We know that adversity takes time but once you’ve given it enough time, it will eventually sort itself out when you take the next problem-solving steps. We know this about all adversity. It takes self-discipline and self-control, but I’m learning to move on to find things that bring me joy again more quickly than ever before.

Tip #2: Know what brings you joy and love it.

One thing that brings me great joy because it warms my heart is connecting and spending quality time with students, friends, and family (in person and from all over the world). It’s one of my love languages. Quality time may certainly be spending time in person but also exchanging texts and messages over social media, FaceTime, and Zoom time. I treasure each of these connections because I enJOY reaching out, uplifting others, and making people feel loved, seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. I love connecting and giving my time and energy with love.

Throughout my day, I have numerous things and people who bring me joy. I feel it from sharing my love through atomic interactions. The trick? I purposefully notice it and name it to nurture it. Then intentionally turn it into a habit. I know I can miss so many moments of joy unless I make an effort. Over time, it becomes less of an effort as it is becoming more of a natural habit of mind.

This year in the classroom, I started to talk about noticing things that bring us joy. For example, when we get to be with our friends. I want them to notice and recognize these moments as joy, and then feel gratitude. They need to learn how. Many of them really enjoy writing love notes to their parents, past teachers, and me because it brings joy to them and others they give it to.

I also frequently remind students of how much they bring me joy. It’s not a matter of just saying the words but for them to feel how much joy they bring me. When I love them and love what I do, the joy that follows is ingrained in every atomic interaction.

Imagine this: Year after year, children from Kindergarten have a teacher who not only tells them but demonstrates love for them, talks about how they bring her joy, teaches them to notice joy in the small things, and encourages feelings of gratitude for it until they graduate. That would be 13 years of feeling loved, noticing and cultivating joy. How might this make an impact on their overall well-being as they become young adults? We can certainly make an impact on their life’s trajectory when we all do our part!

Tip #3: Share your love and appreciation.

I have been blessed to teach for 25 years. A couple years ago, I made one small change in my teaching that has revealed itself to be life-changing. I added three words: I love you. I always loved the students I taught, but I never made it explicit until last year. Honestly, it felt strange at first for me and them, but we quickly got used to it. Now when I see students from last year, we still sign “I love you”. Sometimes it’s down the long hallway, but I can see their smiles as our hearts connect.

This year, I tell my students every morning during our morning message that I love and appreciate them. I end our day with this reminder too. Telling students I love them is one thing but, it MUST come with the truest of feelings in order for it to be sincere. So, how do I make them feel loved? Through every atomic interaction between the start and end of our day! When I choose to see each child as gift entrusted to me to care for and love, it makes it so much easier! Plus it’s now a habit to feel so much love and joy through our interactions! Love boomerangs!

As a Head Teacher, I get to visit all the classrooms in the school during my Admin time. I started to introduce the “I love you” sign so now when I walk into some classrooms, young kids will flash the sign at me and I joyfully reciprocate! Of course, it instantly brings a smile to my face and warms my heart at the same time. Who doesn’t love being told, “I love you?” It shows that I see them and it gives them an added sense of belonging.

Tip #4: Teach Better. Together.

“Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet.” – Simon Sinek.

Have you ever played that game where one partner says a word and you say the first word that pops into your head? If I were playing this game and my partner said, “Teach Better,” I would  say, “Together.” Life can be hard sometimes. Teaching can be hard sometimes too. The more we can lean on each other for love, encouragement, and support so we can feel seen, valued, and heard, the easier it is to find joy in our every day life. You can bring each other joy too!

My Teach Better connections truly bring me joy! I try to treasure and savor every single atomic interaction. At the Teach Better Conference ’22, the whole experience and the connections made gave me shear joy! I am so excited to experience it again this October 20 & 21 at Teach Better Conference ’23! I would absolutely LOVE to see you there in Ohio and give you some Liv love! So register NOW for early bird pricing!

Tip #5: Be relentless and resilient as you daily reflect on your relationships.

We CAN cultivate our own joy through the way we love people, the way we love our job, and the way we love ourselves. In order to meet students where they are, we need to be relentless. Each child has their own story. We can’t expect them all to fit in a round hole so we need to relentlessly find ways to support  them and their learning. We also need to be relentless for ourselves and learn to be consistently resilient with whatever life’s journey has in store for us. When we intertwine the habit of relentlessness and resilience with reflection, we find ourselves in the constant pursuit of betterment. We can have the kind of joy-filled relationships we strive for through every atomic interaction filled with our love.

Every smile, every “I love you,” every interaction with yourself and others is the basic building block for a strong relationship through our atomic love and internal joy.

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