The Joy Switch • Chris M. Coursey

How Your Brain’s Secret Circuit Affects Your Relationships – and How You Can Activate It

January 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2171-5

Life is hard when you’re not yourself.

Why do we sometimes feel more connected in our relationships than at other times? Perhaps you sometimes find it easy and exciting to spend time with your loved ones – but sometimes, especially when things don’t go according to plan, you feel incapable of connecting in conversations. You then feel distant from those you love most. What if the answer to remaining connected in relationships has been right under your nose – or, rather, right inside your head all along?

Discover the simple switch in your brain that activates – or deactivates – what you most need for relational connectivity: joy. In The Joy Switch, learn how the simple flip of this brain switch either enables you to remain present for those around you or causes you to become overwhelmed – and ultimately inhibited from being your best self – when problems arise. You’ll learn how to maximize  your relational brain, how to recognize when your brain’s joy switch is flipped, and how to take steps to restore your relational sweet spot. This book will help you love others and remain fully connected with yourself while being the best version of who you were made to be. 


Chris Coursey is an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, published author, and international speaker. He and his wife, Jen, lead and design the THRIVE Training Program that uses brain-based exercises to train leaders, families, and communities in the 19 relational skills and the Immanuel Lifestyle. They are passionate about helping people acquire the skills to make relationships work. Chris and Jen have two boys, Matthew and Andrew. 

Everybody wants to experience joy. But it often eludes us. Coursey blends brain insight with practical wisdom to show you how you can more consistently experience joy. He deftly weaves colorful life stories into how he encourages the reader to engage their “joy switch.” I recommend The Joy Switch to anyone who wants greater satisfaction in their relationships with people and with God.
Dr. Charles Stone
Lead Pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada; author of six books, including Holy Noticing: The Bible, Your Brain, and the Mindful Space Between Moments


Brain science says you are the possessor of a great gift. This is no ordinary gift. The gift makes people glad you are here. When used, this gift brings smiles, laughter, even warm, fuzzy feelings. This gift is not money, fame, power, or good looks.

Inside your brain is a secret circuit, a relational engine, which goes by many names. Some call it the control center, the relational circuit, or the social engagement system. I refer to it as your secret circuit because it’s there, but people do not know how to use it. This secret circuit is your brain’s relational circuit, which oversees your ability to engage the world – even God. How well this relational circuit is working will have a profound effect on your life. Each of us feels its presence or absence every waking moment.

There is only one problem. This relational circuit can easily turn off. When we do not know how to correct this, we are in trouble. Once this brain circuit goes off, we want to find a way to switch it back on. Otherwise, we relationally flounder. This brings us to the Joy Switch.

The Joy Switch is the lever we must pull, the button we must press, to restore the best of our personality, character, and identity. Here is our ability for joy. The Joy Switch turns on the relational circuit – which changes everything. How well we use the Joy Switch determines if we reach our full relational potential. This ability is within our reach.

Learning to use the Joy Switch restores the relational circuit so we stay a living reflection of the person we want to be. Otherwise, relationally explode or we implode. We lose it with family, friends, coworkers, other drivers, neighbors, and more. We “let them have it” or we may beat ourselves up in a sad sort of way. Many of us have inadvertently drifted from who we dreamed we would be. Or who our mother, father, teachers, coaches, and friends knew we could be.

Deep down, we know there is more. Maybe we let the dream die. Maybe we believed the wrong things about ourselves. The good news is, the Joy Switch is accessible so you can start some joy. All it takes is a little direction. 


Politics, money, and religion – why are there topics and people we just cannot talk about? How does family love turn into shouting, silence, hurt feelings, and distance? The Joy Switch explains the clear mechanism in the brain that few people understand but we all see. You know you already need to know this!
Jim Wilder, PhD
Author and international speaker on the neuroscience of trauma recovery and prevention

The Joy Switch is one of those books that can change your life. If you take the time to do the exercises Chris has assembled, there is no way your joy won’t grow! Understanding the material gathered in this book will give you a relationship-improving paradigm that you will wish you had known years before.
Dr. Marcus Warner
Coauthor, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages

This book is about how to get joy, keep joy, and what to do to get it when you’ve lost it. Thanks, Chris, for another great book simplifying complex topics and giving us practical activities to learn the skill of building and maintaining relational joy. Let the relational revival begin!
Monica Mouer, MS, LCMHCS, CSAT, Certified EMDR Therapist
Center for Family Transformation, Founder and Clinical Director