The dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” We often use joy and happiness interchangeably, but there are core differences between them. Happiness is described as dependent on external circumstances and therefore, not lasting.
The Dalai Lama described happiness as “like a butterfly that lands on us and then flutters away.” On the other hand, joy comes from within; it is an enduring feeling that withstands the ups and downs of life.
When we experience joy, our brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals, which create the optimal conditions for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In addition, joy promotes emotional safety, which allows for better connections, creativity, problem-solving, and a sense of fulfillment.
Practicing joy in our everyday life increases our sense of appreciation and gratitude for life; it amplifies self-compassion, acceptance, and love, which in return strengthen our resilience.
Imagine going about your day wearing your joy as your superhero cape. Clocked in the protective powers of joy, you can handle the daily stressors from a place of personal agency and inner strength. Joy puts the spark in your eye and pep in your step.
Here are seven ways to bring joy to your everyday life.
1. Believe in your ability to generate joy in your life.
2. Start your day with the intention of being joyful.
3. Get to know what brings you joy.
4. Make a list of your everyday joyful delights.
5. Use the power of play to expand your childlike joy.
6. Create a family joy list.
7. Purposefully schedule play or other activities that generate joy.
Having a joyful mindset allows you to overcome the daily annoyances, strengthen relationships, stick to your goals, and have more of a fulfilling and satisfying day. Joy has the power to add spark to your eye and pep in your step.
Marina Blalock, AMFT