This article covers the meaning of joy.

The word joy refers to the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, and is typically associated with feelings of intense, long-lasting happiness.

Distinction vs similar states

C. S. Lewis saw a 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.”

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… joy is not only a direct emotional response to an event that is embedded in our life-concerns but is also tightly bound to the present moment, whereas happiness presupposes an evaluative stance concerning one period of one’s life or one’s own life as a whole.”

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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.” – Miroslav Volf

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw

Arianna Huffington has also been a big advocate of joy triggers, evoking joy through certain triggers. These are triggers which related to activities that stimulate certain neurochemicals such as dopamine. According to Huffington, activities that are able to evoke a positive neurochemical response are producers of joy.

Ingrid Fetell Lee has studied the sources of joy. She wrote the book “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness”, and gave a TED talk on the subject, titled “Where joy hides and how to find it.”

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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