Emily Anhalt, a clinical psychologist and cofounder of the mental health app Coa, told The New York Times that schadenfreude can be an "ego protector." Feeling good about someone else's loss can protect you from similar pain, or it can help you bond with others. But studies have found that too much of a schadenfreude thing can make people less empathetic and compassionate toward others. That's where freudenfreude comes in to bring things back into balance.
To tap into the feeling of freudenfreude, look for good things happening to other people, and no success is too small to celebrate. When you talk to friends and family, ask what's going well for them, then share in their joy and pride. Don't forget to share your own accomplishments and excitement, too. Happiness can be a community effort. If you're struggling to get started after years of schadenfreude, it's super easy to share some freudenfreude with kids in your life. An improved grade, a piece of art they're proud of, or a new skill they've mastered is fertile freudenfreude ground.