Joy vs. happiness — are they different and can they exist without the other? Today’s article explores the difference between the two and more importantly, how you can have both.
In this article:
- Happiness vs. Joy: How Are They Different?
Joy Vs. Happiness: 5 Steps You Can Take to Have Both
Happiness vs. Joy: How Are They Different?
What is happiness? This refers to a condition of contentment and well-being. It also refers to pleasing and delightful experiences.
What is joy? This refers to a feeling that comes from possessing something you love, experiencing good fortune, accomplishment, and well-being.
While these are accurate definitions of joy and happiness, these aren’t hard and fast rules or definitions. Both can have personal meanings in your own life.
Both are emotions, but joy is a deeper and longer-lasting emotion compared to happiness, which can be more fleeting.
1. Live out Your Life Purpose
Enduring happiness and joy are dependent on your ability to discover your life purpose. And even more important, it’s about living out that purpose.
If you want to experience both on a massive scale in your life, you must discover and intentionally live out your life purpose. Otherwise, most, if not all, of your efforts to experience joy and happiness in your life will be in vain.
2. Understand That Happiness Is the Destination and You’ll Need Joy to Get There
Before reading further, stop for a moment and visualize the life you want to live. Consider that your destination.
What kind of life did you visualize? Is it a life of financial security and abundance? Is it a life full of intimate and satisfying personal relationships?
Don’t ignore your vision of the kind of life you want. Because your vision is your destination. It holds the key for you to experience both joy and happiness in your life.
Think of happiness as your destination or goal, while joy is the means or milestones by which you accomplish goals. Because joy is the process, it is longer-lasting and thus, is more of an attitude that can help you get to your destination.
3. Try Journaling and Imagining the Worst
Oftentimes, people expect happiness to come in grand and elaborate ways, much like epic theater or movie productions. But the truth is, happiness, at least deep and lasting happiness, doesn’t come with moments of grandeur.
The key to experiencing deep and lasting happiness is by intentionally practicing joy. And one of the most important keys to consistently experiencing joy in numerous small moments in life is through gratitude.
You can think of gratitude as an “attitude” of being grateful. And two of the best ways to practice and develop this attitude are journaling and imagining the worst.
Journaling allows you to process your thoughts and appreciate the things you have in life. When you write things down, you get to physically see the different things you’re blessed with in word form.
Imagining the worst means thinking how bad your life could’ve been if you didn’t have what you have now. Imagine how bad your life could be if you were homeless, carless, jobless, family-less, or friendless.
When you visualize your worst life now, without the things you’re currently blessed with, as compared to griping about how you’re not living your best life, you can start feeling more grateful every day. And, you’ll eventually learn how to practice joy and feel more happiness in life.
4. Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
Life is a potpourri of controllable and uncontrollable things. If you want to live a full and satisfying life marked by happiness and joy, you need to learn how to deal with things you can’t control.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, happiness is highly dependent on autonomy. The more control you feel you have in life, the happier you can become.
However, you can’t exercise complete control over all situations in your life. If you’re hell-bent on exercising control over everything in your life, you’ll just end up frustrated and discontented, unable to experience lasting happiness and joy in your life.
That’s why you must learn how to deal with things you have little or no control over. To do that, you need to focus on distinguishing goals from desires.
According to Dr. Neal Anderson in his book Overcoming Darkness, a person should only set goals he or she has complete control over. Things that lie beyond one’s ability should be considered desires.
Why is this important? If happiness is highly dependent on control, then you should focus on things that produce results you can have control over.
When you choose to be grateful for what you have, rather than sulk over what you don’t have, you can manage how you feel about things you can’t control. You’ll feel more joyful and ultimately, happier.
5. Understand That Joy Is Possible Even During Unhappy Moments
Remember how we talked about joy being a much deeper and longer-lasting emotion compared to happiness? Another way of putting it is, compared to joy, happiness can be fleeting.
Consider breadwinners from poor countries who choose to work in a foreign place, often in inhospitable conditions. They’re hardly happy working away from their families, but the joy of knowing the needs of their families are bring met gives them the fortitude to persevere under such working conditions for years on end.
And even in such depressing working conditions, they can still find many pocket moments of happiness, too. The key to happiness and joy for them is knowing their life purpose, which is to provide for their families back home.
Joy vs. happiness — this can be a misnomer because truth is, you can have both. While you may have unhappy moments that are still filled with joy, you can have the best of both worlds most of the time.
Do you believe that you can have both joy and happiness in life? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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