Joy 101

When individuals hear the word joy, the image of wide and bright smiles may initially come to mind. On the surface, happiness and joy may seem synonymous. Although closely related, there is a stark difference between the two, specifically it is the attitude of choice.

Joy vs. Happiness

One noteworthy essay describes happiness as “depending on external factors to exists.” Therefore, individuals may get into the routine of saying, “When this happens, I’ll be happy.” This if-then mentality sends us into a never-ending cycle of waiting on happiness to fill a potential void and puts your happiness in the hands of Future. Joy, on the other hand, is more spiritual in nature. In fact, many religious denominations place joy as a sacred or holy emotion.

Something that is seen as a blessing or rewarding occurrence. However, universally, joy is accepted as a choice one makes. Despite various circumstances, whether financial hardships or personal differences, a person who chooses joy still maintains a positive outlook towards the future. Their joy is ever-present and consistent despite situations of despair.

Happiness is often times momentary and matched with a state of euphoria. Within the moment, there are no other negative influences that could drastically impact the level of happiness one experiences. Because of this emotional focus, happiness is only limited to circumstantial occurrences.

How Joy is Life-Changing

Since joy is a choice, this means it takes a concerted effort to achieve. It is quite simple to bask in the stress, negativity, and despair so prevalent in the world today. Certain situations can even make it easy to become victimized. Because of this, learning how to choose a joyous spirit is vital. One simple way to do this is to practice kindness, even when it’s difficult. This is especially necessary for employment where things can get hectic.

Clashing personalities, strict deadlines, and even unmanageable colleagues can make work-life a dread. However, you have the power to remain positive in the midst of negativity. Walk into the office with a smile and strive to be kind to everyone you encounter.

Don’t respond to negativity with combativeness. Instead, find your inner peace that cannot be destroyed. This mentality goes far beyond the office. It transcends to every avenue in life. If you suffer from disappointments, hard times, or failure, try to find the learning experience within.

This will empower you to push forward and find delight in your experiences whether positive or negative. This new mentality is life-changing because it forces you to find the positive in whatever you are handed. Unlike happiness which comes and goes, choosing joy lasts beyond the circumstantial positives. It can help mold and guide you throughout life’s difficulties.

How to Develop Joy

One of the primary ways to develop joy is to find meaning and purpose in everything that you do. This will give you a sense of living as opposed to living for something. One popular news source suggests “connecting authentically” with those around you. As opposed to searching for vanity or the negative, find a way to really get to know those in your sphere of influence. This will help you to develop a deeper human connection.

In addition, remaining humble and grateful are two primary ways to further develop your joy. When you focus on the good that your life has, you have no reason to be down or remorseful. In addition, understanding your limitations in comparison to the huge universe will help you to not take life too seriously. By focusing on heightening your connective awareness, you will be able to develop long-lasting joy.

Joy can help you to serve others, be a better friend, employer, person, and advocate. It provides you with a sense of fulfillment even during harsh times. In order to live a life filled with purpose and sanity, it’s imperative that you learn how to choose joy every day.




Laughing Matters

Laughing Matters

The ability to laugh at yourself and laugh, in general, has many health benefits.
Everybody loves to laugh. Laughter is contagious and the sound of it provokes more laughter.

How can laughter improve your health and help U live life to the fullest?

  • Laughter releases tension and lowers anxiety. Laughter changes your stress response by reducing the level of your stress hormones and providing U with a relaxed feeling.
  • When U laugh your brain releases endorphins which creates feelings of joy and euphoria.
  • Laughter gives your heart and lungs a work out which reduces the physical impact of stress.
  • People who laugh often have lower blood pressure. The act of laughing helps lower your blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of heart disease.
  • Fifteen minutes of laughter per day can be as beneficial to your heart as 30 minutes of exercise three times per week.
  • Laughter releases endorphins into our system which act as a “natural high” which provides temporary pain relief.
  • Laughter has been shown to improve sleep by reducing stress and promoting mind and body relaxation and calm. Sleep allows U to have a clear and alert brain which will improve your focus, ability to learn, grow and be creative and productive.
  • In the workplace, laughter can improve improve your relationships with your co-workers.
  • Improve your social relationships. Friends love to hang out with others who are able to laugh and have a good time.
  • Belly laughter can speed up your metabolism and help you shed pounds. Stress increases cortisol and cortisol increases your appetite. Ten to fifteen minutes of laughter can burn approximately 50 calories.
  • Laugh often and ward off the physical appearance of aging. Promote laugh lines versus frown lines by laughing more. Smiling and laughter engages a number of different facial muscles which help promote a youthful appearance.
  • Laughter can improve creativity and productivity. The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true. If U need a break, don’t hesitate to take one. Laughter increases oxygenation to the brain and improves your creativity and productivity.
  • Laughter can improve a bad day and allow for the opportunity to inject some fun when things are difficult.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system and produces antibodies which protect us from infections and illness.

With all this having been said, it is important to recognize that laughter is something that happens to us unconsciously. Try to laugh spontaneously on cue. Consciously, it is extremely difficult to initiate, control or sustain laughter. It feels forced and disingenuous.

Therefore, in order to promote more fun and  laughter in your life:

  • Give yourself permission to have a good time. If U are sabotaging yourself from having a good time U need to ask yourself why and address it. U are worth more than living a life without laughter!
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Recognize that children laugh approximately 300-400 times per day because they are JOYFUL. Adults only laugh, on average, 17 times per day. That is a startling and significant difference! If laughter and joy are missing in your life, U need to find the joy U once had. It’s there, U have simply forgotten what joy and happiness look like.
  • Surround yourself with people who make U feel good. Hang out with friends U love to laugh with.
  • Rent funny videos or watch your favorite comedies on TV.
  • If U are finding it hard to laugh, make time to have fun by engaging in enjoyable experiences and activities. Do the things U love and do them often.

Laughter is healthy, we need it to survive and thrive. Keep laughing!

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” — Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)