"When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”-Gautama Buddha
Joy is a core human experience that is fundamental to human existence and well being. It makes life worth living. Yet most people do not understand the true depth of the meaning of joy in their lives confusing happiness as joy. Joy is consistent and internal. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are. Happiness is triggered externally and based on other people, things, places, thoughts, and events. Joy does not come from an event. To bring about joy, you must change to more positive internal thoughts, i.e., being kind, forgiving, and flexible with yourself and others. This promotes self-acceptance where joy develops. Nature and laughter also promote inner joy. Michela Summa says that the distinction between joy and happiness is that "Joy accompanies the process through and through, whereas happiness seems to be more strictly tied to the moment of achievement of the process."
Robert Holden, PhD, and author of The Happiness Project says, “Joy is the soul of happiness.” Have you lost touch with your joy and no longer know how to cultivate it? If so, be careful not to resort to alcohol, drugs, and addictive foods, or find fleeting moments of happiness from other places without truly experiencing it. Overcome the challenge of switching your mindset from one of negative thinking to one of joy. Joy is a virtue that involves your thoughts, feelings, and actions in response to what matters most in your life. Joy is enduring, a deep delight in what holds the most significance for you. Everyone has experienced joy that may surprise and overtake you or through sustainable calm. To experience joy:
• Grow in authenticity and lean into your strengths.
• Establish and maintain deep and contributing relationships.
• Live more aligned with your moral, ethical, and spiritual ideals. Stop standing in the way of your joy! Prioritizing your own joy can feel selfish. You convince yourself that you are not important, not worthy of a joy filled life. Yet, you fake joy. See the truth. You deserve joy! Why is this important?
• Joy is a great predictor of good health – adds years to your life.
• Joyful people are kinder – more meaningful relationships.
• Joyful people are more successful – focus + the meaning = your results.
• All you have is this moment – be present with yourself controlling you.
Joy and pain are deeply connected because both are a response to what matters most. You experience joy when you manifest what you hold to be most significant. You experience pain when what you hold is violated, destroyed, or deteriorated. Remain connected to what really matters through the good and adversity. Frankie Beverly’s hit song Joy and Pain says, “Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain. Where there is a flower there is sun and rain. But they are both the same.” Sun and rain are needed to ensure flowers blossom. Joy and pain are needed for your growth. Balance your pain with joy seeing and feeling the joy amid pain.
Gratitude is key to cultivating joy in your life. You should have gratitude not only for the good but also for those things that challenge you. It helps you to grow and build strength. This also helps to define what brings you joy and what does not. Gratitude makes you more appreciative and trusting, gives you better self-esteem and helps you bounce back from stress. Gratitude helps you look at your situation within this world in a healthier way. Do not take simple things for granted. Embrace the simple experiences and pleasures.
When you are more present, the simpler things become joyful, like, awakening in the morning, the smells, air, and sounds. True joy is within you but if you are finding it difficult to be joy filled, here are seven helpful tips:
1. Know, be, and love you wheresoever you are and be unapologetic about it.
2. Incorporate creativity and joy throughout your life.
3. Release what and who does not bring you joy.
4. Get out of your head and journal.
5. Reframe your negative thoughts.
6. Connect with others who are joy filled and bring you joy.
7. Help others.
Open your soul to experience true joy. Understand what brings you joy and how it changes your life. Do not get in your way to experience the joy you deserve. Joy is not just a thought. Joy must be experienced, practiced, and appreciated as it determines your action and behavior. You know joy when you experience and lose it. “Joy does not simply happen to us.
We must choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”-Henri Nouwen
Article Written By: Gladys Agwai
As featured in: