Last month at book club, one of the members shared an article that she'd read recently that said we should all strive to experience 15 minutes of joy each day of our lives. It prompted a huge discussion that carried over into this month and this continues to be something I'm trying to figure out for myself.
One of our club members is happy - all the time, and I do mean all the time. I've seen her put to the test recently in her workplace and even under very negative circumstances she "shifted gears" so to speak. She remained very happy but at the same time announced that the changes had given her new direction and a new focus. I too consider myself a very happy person almost all the time. It's rare that I cry though I can recall one time in my life that I've been really depressed. There have been events that have made me sad, like the death of my sister-in-law and my dad, but generally I'm happy. The discussions in our book club became interesting when two very happy people tried to figure out the difference between joy and happiness.
I've always viewed happiness as a state of being. I choose happiness and enjoy surrounding myself with things, people and events that make me happy. When I was growing up my grandpa used to remind me "happy is the girl with a song in her heart" and because of his constant reminder I've continued to hum to myself my entire life, even when my life wasn't happy.
To me, joy is a much stronger, deeper emotion. Joy has a much higher threshold and is longer lasting. It comes from a spiritual or heavenly place. Having grown up hearing the phrase, "tears of joy" I think of joy as being something very deep within us filled with maximum emotion. When I hear my granddaughters enjoying life and giggling at nothing at all, that is joy. The mere sight of a rainbow, my children or my grandgirls brings me pure joy.
My happy friend/book club members sees happiness and joy as much the same - both spiritually based. I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.