It is said that we all seek happiness but it’s often mistaken for joy. A fundamental part of human development is understanding human emotions and attitudes.
For this reason we must know the differences between joy and happiness to identify them properly and work on our personal growth if we want to achieve or strengthen one or the other.
First of all, each of the definitions
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Joy is an emotion, just as sadness is. That’s why one day we may feel or have the emotion that nothing or no one can stop us from facing the day, and the next day we may feel completely sad or unmotivated because of any external circumstance.
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Happiness is a state of harmony. A feeling of well-being and peace of mind that lasts over time. Joy, like emotion, is very ephemeral. Having moments of joy does not mean being happy. We decide to be happy, arranging our mind for it, without letting other people or other people’s circumstances influence this disposition.
What’s the difference between joy and happiness?
Joy and happiness seem to be the same, but their differences are substantial. Because both refer us to optimistic and positive issues, we often believe that it is the same to be happy as it is to be happy.
However, they are two different things and we are going to explain each one to you; in this way you will be able to better understand yourself and yourself. recognize whether you are experiencing a state or an emotion. You will surely be surprised when you know the differences between joy and happiness.
1. Emotion and feeling
Emotions and feelings are different things. An emotion is a reaction of the brain to a stimulus, either internal or external. They are a transitory state that momentarily shakes us out of an equable state of mind. Emotions can lead us to act in certain ways as a response to them, or on the other hand it can also happen that we repress them and with it we generate another type of situations in our being.
On the other hand feelings are the result of having experienced an emotion. Somehow the feelings are more rational, although they are still based on the range of emotions that flood us after some significant event. They have a longer duration than an emotion, and their background is deeper and with stronger roots.
The fundamental difference between joy and happiness is that one is emotion and another is feeling. In this sense it is easy to identify joy as an emotion. It is our response to an external or internal situation that makes us feel good and that we manifest with euphoria, laughter, tranquility and a sense of well-being. The duration of this emotion is proportional to the duration of the stimulus or the time we think about it.
Once the intensity of joy has passed, give way (or not) to a feeling of happiness. The way in which we manage those moments of joy largely determines the subsequent feeling that we will have. However, you may also feel happy after going through an episode of less optimistic emotions, such as sadness or anguish. This is because The feeling of happiness is a little more rational..
Joy and happiness have different duration. Because of these fundamental differences between the two, it is easy to understand that emotions have a shorter duration compared to happiness. But we must also understand that there is no feeling without prior emotion. Emotions become the engine and the raw material to build a feeling. It is in us that this feeling is positive and enduring.
For example, we have received the good news that we got a scholarship or a good job. This external stimulus comes to us and causes us an emotion. If it was something we wanted very much, it will surely flood us with joy. This joy will accompany us for many days, even once we have started school or work, however if we do not manage and take advantage of it, negative emotions such as fear or anxiety may also come.
At the same time, if we make good use of our emotions and cultivate resilience and proactivity, this joy is going to help us build a sense of happiness once we’ve started our studies or our new job. When the euphoria for the good news has passed, what is going to endure is a state of happiness that is in our hands to make it endure.
That’s why it’s said a key difference between joy and happiness is the duration of one and the other. Joy is sudden emotion with a maximum duration of a few weeks. While happiness can even be permanent, because a person can maintain a continuous sense of happiness, even despite having bad times or situations. A person who feels happy may also feel happy, but a happy person does not always show up with the euphoria of joy.
The way of manifesting joy and happiness is different. Although we believe that they are the same and manifest in the same way, in reality joy and happiness are different even in their way of expressing themselves and it is important to recognize one and the other because we often think that a happy person should manifest in such a way that this state and attitude towards life is evident, and is expected to be with the same euphoria as joy.
However, the way to express an emotion and a feeling is different. In addition to that each person has its particularities to manifest its moods. For this reason it is that neither joy nor happiness should be pigeonholed. If we understand that emotions and feelings have a singular form of expression, we will avoid interpreting one or the other in the wrong way.
Joy is an intense emotion more focused towards euphoria. Its expression is spontaneous, it arrives suddenly with an external or internal stimulus, it manifests when something expected or to our liking arrives in our life. Laughter and a smile, a slightly louder voice, a relaxed and energetic body expression, a glowing gaze, a secure posture or even a relaxed and peaceful face are expressions of joy.
There are people who have a continuous cheerful expression, no doubt that this contributes to a state of general well-being and a better way of facing problems. Happy people don’t always find themselves in this euphoric state.. Happiness is manifested with a confident personality, a frank smile, looking straight ahead when they greet, positive attitudes and comments and an aura of peace and harmony.
- Cottrell, L. (2016). Joy and happiness: a simultaneous and evolutionary concept analysis. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 72(7), 1506-1517. doi:10.1111/jan.12980.
- Delamothe T. (2005). Happiness. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 331(7531), 1489-1490. doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7531.1489