Joy vs. Happiness

Although we often think that joy and happiness fall under the same category, these emotions are very different. Yes, both joy and happiness describe our feelings of satisfaction, contentment, and pleasure. However, these feelings are triggered by different reasons and differ in their nature.

Happiness is externally based and tied to our experiences. Our happiness depends on other people, events, situations, places, and thoughts. Furthermore, happiness relates to our hope for good things in the future: if outside events, situations or people support these expectations, the result will be our happiness.

On the other hand, joy is tied to our heart. Joy is a deeply internal and consistent feeling that we feel when we are at peace with who we are. Joy is a feeling of inner peace and satisfaction, caused by our gratitude, spirituality or contentment.

While joy is not tied to expectations, happiness carries the burden of our experiences and outward circumstances: when we don't meet our expectations, it affects our happiness and messes with our well-being.

What Causes Happiness and Joy?

While happiness may depend on other people, luck or fortunate experiences, joy is caused by glee at a moment in time. Also, happiness relies on materialistic, worldly pleasures and it always involves the self’s gratification. On the contrary, joy doesn’t depend on outside things; it’s rather about inner self.

Happiness can be created while joy comes from inside. For example, if someone gives you an expensive, long-desired car as a gift, you would feel happiness. However, if you work hard and buy the same vehicle, you would feel joy. Although the final advantage is the same, the different cause of the feeling makes the ultimate emotion different.

How to Increase the Amount of Joy in Your Life

Joy is not tied to external circumstances, but it's about your mindset: if you manage to shift your way of thinking from one of negative thinking to one of joy, you’ll experience the benefits of joyfulness. So, here are three ways to welcome joy into your life.

1.     Still Your Mind with Mindfulness Meditation

To invite joyfulness, you need to listen to your intuition. Quieting your thinking mind will allow you to become aware of your subconscious thoughts and to pay attention closely to what brings you joy.

2.     Keep a Journal

Writing down your thoughts and emotions without censoring them allows access to your subconscious mind and helps you recognize the things that attract joyfulness into your life.

3.     Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a great way of shifting your mindset to be joy-oriented. Gratefulness helps you see the joy in little things. So, try starting your day by writing down three things you are grateful for. Or to say out loud three things you appreciate in your life before you go to bed. This should help you pay attention to small things and invite joy into your life.

Gratefulness makes you more appreciative, increases your mood and optimism, and helps you recover from stress more easily. Having a mindset of gratitude helps attract positive things and joy into your life and improves your overall well-being.