Many would say that happiness is key to a good life. Is this true or possible? What is happiness, exactly? Joy is another word that is often used interchangeably with happiness, but perhaps it is something different; and perhaps it is more achievable and sustainable. Read on to explore the meaning of happiness and joy and discover why knowing this difference can help you unlock both.
While joy and happiness are often used interchangeably, there is a key distinction between the two emotions. Happiness is typically seen as a transient emotion that is brought about by pleasurable experiences or material possessions. In contrast, joy is more enduring and rooted in one’s sense of satisfaction with life. Joy is created within ourselves. This is not to say that joy cannot be sparked by external stimuli, but it is less likely to be as fleeting as happiness.
For example, someone might feel happiness after receiving a promotion at work or purchasing a new home, but the happiness will eventually fade if the job isn’t fulfilling, or the house isn’t everything they hoped it would be. In this way, joy is more concerned with one’s internal state, while happiness tends to focus on external factors. Joy is something to choose – an attitude perhaps, of the heart and spirit. Joy can be present in every moment and life experience – in this way, joy can be a constant, and an almost transformative experience no matter what life’s experiences are. Joy is easier to lean in to as it begins and ends with the person, rather than the often-uncontrollable external factors.
While we can all be in the pursuit of happiness, we can always choose joy. No matter what life throws your way, understanding the differences between joy and happiness can make for a subtle shift towards both. What are your thoughts on happiness and joy? Do you have any tips for living a joyful life? Share them with us in the comments below!