Joy, laughter, and play stimulate the release of feel good hormones in our body. It shuts down cortisol, adrenaline, and other health deteriorating processes in the body.
S. Lewis saw clear distinction between joy, pleasure, and happiness: “I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.” and “I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.”
The causes of joy have been ascribed to various sources. “When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Gautama Buddha, “Joy is the emotional dimension of the good life, of a life that is both going well and is being lived well.”
Joseph Campbell said, “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
Joy Improves Everything
Joy feels good. This may seem quite obvious, but some things can seem so obvious that they need to be said. If you have been having a hard time in life, you may feel that joy is so far away and beyond your horizon.
Joy makes you laugh more. Laughter that is deep belly laughing is really good for your body as it creates a massage effect which is really beneficial, and endorphins are released into your bloodstream. These are the body’s natural pain relief and stress release. Your body is wired for joy.
Joy attracts money because money follows joy. Joy does not follow money. I really got this when I was penniless. There are so many intertwined and associated beliefs floating around out there about money and very few of them are linked to joy. Hold a joy party or do something fun and then money and other great things begin to flow in, with ease.
Joy is healthy. The effects of stress on the human body are becoming more and more evident. So many people live with bad health and mostly they are miserable for it. Your health is your wealth and wealth means joy. When you are wealthy you are able to do as you please and well hopefully enjoy yourself.
Joy is expansive and feels like you are in love, all of the time and with everything, not just one person. It is a warm sense of excitement at the beginning of each day and falling asleep with gratitude and appreciation as your last feelings of the day. For so many, living life this way may seem like a fantasy because we are so far removed from these emotion of lightness and vibrancy. Joy knows no bounds. There are simply variations in intensity.
Joy is Exciting
Joy is a motivator. Joy is a sense of energized excitement and also a constant certainty. That everything is simply wonderful and okay as it is. It’s excitingly whole and very comforting.
Once you begin to look for ways in which to add more joy into your life and to pay attention to the places where it shows up naturally, you will see and experience life through different eyes. Don’t take my word for it! Use these points as guidelines and ask joy to show up in your life and then be open to how it shows up.
Sometimes we get so caught up, that we forget to enjoy our lives. So, just for today, put the diet books down and go play. Have a dance party. Go the park. Play a game. Go to lunch with a friend. Watch a funny movie. Let joy fill your body, and watch yourself transform.
Randi Fredricks, Ph.D.
Blomfield, Vishvapani. (2016). Gautama Buddha: The Life and Teachings of The Awakened One. Quercus Publishing.
Campbell, Joseph. (2004). Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation. New World Library.
Lewis, C.S. (1986). Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Volf, Miroslav. (2015). Joy and Human Flourishing: Essays on Theology, Culture and the Good Life. Fortress Press.