What’s the difference between joy and happiness?
Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably. However, happiness technically refers to the pleasurable feelings (emotions) that result from a situation, experience, or objects, whereas joy is a state of mind that can be found even in times of grief or uncertainty. Thus, we can work on cultivating joy independent of our circumstances. Winning the lottery may trigger (short-term) happiness; spending time engaging in meaningful activities may result in long-term joy
During difficult times, it becomes twice as important to modify your routine, allowing yourself to experience joy. Here are some ideas, although it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you:
- Perform regular aerobic physical activity. Think of physical activity as releasing a bubble bath of neurotransmitters — and their effects linger long after the exercise is over.
- Dedicate yourself to others. Activities such as volunteering produce greater joy than focusing on oneself.
- Connect with your spiritual side. When we join with something larger than ourselves, we develop feelings of gratitude, compassion, and peace. Meditation is a powerful way to modify brain pathways to increase joy.
- Discover something new. As humans, we are hard-wired to experience joy when experiencing novelty. Developing a new pursuit can help us refocus our energy.
- Give yourself permission to take a few moments of pleasure, especially when you are feeling