Happiness and Joy

As a Kinesiologist a large part of my work with clients includes looking at the emotional aspects of the issue at hand.

Often the word to describe the emotion is very specific. Last week I was working with a lady who needed more “joy” in her life.  I had been testing “happiness”, which we had considered as the same, but “joy” definitely tested as the correct word.

There are subtle differences between the two feelings.

Happiness and joy are closely related and frequently occur simultaneously.  They both bring feelings of contentment, pleasure and satisfaction, but the reasons for these feelings are where differences lie.

Happiness is an outward expression of bliss and elation and comes from material things and earthly experiences, for example good food or company.  Whereas joy is a more inward experience of peace and contentment, from spiritual experiences like feeling connected to a god or people.  Joy requires an ongoing process of living a moral, more selfless lifestyle, caring for others and expressing gratitude on a regular basis.

Because happiness is based on outward circumstances, it is often more fleeting.  Whereas joyfulness takes longer to cultivate, it is a stronger, longer term state less influenced by life’s ups and downs.

It’s worth your time, effort and energy to cultivate more happiness and joy in your life.  There are health benefits, including; stronger immune systems, lower heart rate and blood pressure, fewer aches and pains and longer life spans.

Here are some simple hints to integrate more happiness and joy in your life.

Let go of the past – Ask yourself what you can learn from past pain and mistakes and allow yourself to move on, you deserve to be happy.

Take time to be grateful – Choose a time each day to remind yourself of the things you have to be grateful for, the simple things as well as the big things.  Taking 5-10 minutes on your commute to work, or while you wait in line for your morning coffee, can lift your mood and set you up for a happier day.

Ask “What could bring me joy today?” Then do it – Doing small things everyday add up and feel a lot more “do-able” than trying to achieve “a lifetime of happiness”.

Make time to feed your passion – Whether it’s gourmet cooking, kite surfing, bush walking or arts and crafts, spending time doing what you’re passionate about brings more meaning to your life.

Volunteer – Helping others has a positive effect on your mental health and helps give a different perspective to your problems.

Challenge yourself – Set a goal that’s outside your comfort zone.  The process of working towards your goal, seeing your improvement and then achieving your goal does wonders for your self-esteem.

Be your authentic self – Stop trying to please others.  Be and do what feels right for you.

Make time for fun – Life is full of commitments and responsibilities, so find moments of fun and laughter throughout your day.  In your spare time make some opportunities to laugh.

Hang out with positive people – Spending time with happy, positive people helps you be happier and more positive.

Be present – Being mindful and living in the present moment means you can be free of pain and worries associated with the past or the future.  What a nice thought!

Spend time in nature – Get out of the city, breathe fresh air, walk among trees or on the beach.

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