KinJoy’s programs help Atlanta's Black community cope with stress
Remember feeling the excitement when your teacher handed out permission slips to visit an aquarium, museum, or zoo? A field trip was more than a fun adventure. It was a chance to break out of the dull routine, leave the stress and work behind.
Adulting is hard, even on the best of days. We worry and stress as we navigate work, life, and family. And that negatively impacts our mental health. The mental health crisis has grown even worse in the past year. In June 2019, one in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder; during the pandemic, that number grew to 4 in 10.
You may have grown up, but you didn’t grow out of that need for excitement and opportunities to be in the moment. Taking time for yourself, doing something fun, or learning a new thing, all add up to much-needed self-care.
If you were waiting for permission to be a kid again, Kinshasa Msola has signed your slip.
With a background in education, Kinshasa spent 17 years teaching in and out of the classroom. A self-described “tech-oriented nerd” who is known for being optimistic and “annoyingly happy,” she is a Joy Enthusiast and founder of KinJoy. The events company boosts positive mental health in the Black community through meaningful experiences.
The idea of KinJoy sparked a decade ago but it was the overwhelming global events of 2020 that brought it to life. When Kinshasa noticed she rebounded through hard times quickly, she reflected on the reasons why.
“We all have to go through our own journey,” said Kinshasa. “But I started questioning my ability to recover quickly through difficult times. At the end of the day, I felt it was the gratitude, happiness, and optimism that got me through.”
Kinshasa is fascinated by educational neuroscience. In 2010 she began taking courses in her free time. In 2018 she expanded her focus to the healing powers of meditation. Soon after, she added positive psychology to her professional development as she examined ways to shift the mind’s negative view to a positive one.
Research reveals that a positive shift in the mind is not only possible but life-altering. Positivity, gratitude, and mindfulness can help build emotional resilience, which can help us get through tough times.
“You can shift your mind to focus on joy and happiness,” Kinshasa said. “KinJoy is obsessed with changing the mindset. We want to be a catalyst for joy within the Black community.
“We are a community that has gone through a lot of hardships. I want to help people shift their mind toward joy with unique events that focus on de-stressing, escaping the everyday grind, to connect with happiness, self-care, and mental health — for men and women alike.”
For now, KinJoy’s events take shape in two forms:
JoyVents are social events that bring out your inner child through field trips, scavenger hunts, game days, and trivia events
JoyShops (because, as Kinshasa says, “work is boring!”) are interactive skill-building workshops that embed crafting, creativity, mindfulness, and networking
As she thinks about what’s ahead, Kinshasa would like to add virtual self-care classes. She’s also working on a podcast to help people apply the elements of positive psychology (such as mindfulness) into everyday life, making it even easier to build confidence and change our mindset.
It’s possible with a little help from our friends and partners! KinJoy is committed to celebrating and supporting our fellow Black and female communities. Whenever possible, we work with Black-owned venues and 100% of our partnerships are female-owned.
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Interested in partnering in the mind shift? Contact us to become a JoyDinator (Joy Coordinator).