What is joy? (#2)

I’m not so very religious …

I’m actually not religious at all.

I don’t believe in one god, because even each of those who believe in ‘one god’ have a different idea of what s/he is/does/looks like. I don’t believe that there is one set of detailed rules, although I do find it interesting that most of the religions that I have been introduced to are founded on the same basic handful. I don’t believe that one book, in any religion, tells the whole truth … because there is no truth, only perception by both author and reader.

So when I started researching the definition of ‘joy’, I was dismayed to find that the majority of the texts were published by theologians or spiritual schools … and I started to think that I should change the subject matter of this blog.

But then I found this:


Disney-imagined ‘joy’ …

Which made me smile.

And from there I found this :

“Happiness is an outward expression of elation. Joy is an inner peace or sense of contentment … ”

Through happiness – laughter, silliness, smiles – joy develops … ” Joy is believing in yourself. Joy is knowing we will make mistakes … but that we are still valuable and magnificent exactly as we are. Joy is knowing that laughter will lead us as we face difficult tasks. Joy is feeling the connection to each other.

… Joy is not in things, it is in us.”*


Where I thought that possibly joy is a subset of happiness – possibly it’s the other way round … or possibly they’re interdependent – can you be joyful without being happy? No. Can you be happy without being joyful – yes … I think …

So I’m going to embrace the Disney image and couple it with my own definition of joy:

“‘Joy’ is an emotion. It is transient. It is bright. It goes deep. It is a whole of body sensation felt when all is completely right with the world”





What is joy?

(n) : the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying;

: keen pleasure, elation;

: a source of keen pleasure or delight;

: something, or someone, greatly appreciated or valued …

With a definition of ‘happiness’ comes pleasure, contentment and joy. So pleasure, contentment and joy  are subsumed by the umbrella of happiness.

There is an element of the ‘extra’ in joy.

‘Joy’ is reliant, I think, on the unexpected element.

How does one ‘find’ an emotion that comes only from the existence of something that was not imagined?

Is it even possible to investigate what brings joy?

It starts with a goal.

We all know that yes?

Every article offering “Top Ten Tips” / “Daily Rituals to Be Your Best You” / “Weekly Habits of Successful People” / “Life Hacks” tell me that first, I need to set a goal.

So – why am I writing:

To discover what brings me joy.

It is simple. It is also a little selfish. It is a goal that I am not sure anyone else will be interested in.

A goal that may not even need to be written about.

So … why write it down? Why not just experiment and find out what fits?

Because I want to capture the journey. I want to remember learnings.

I also want to write.

And I want to share. Because, maybe, there are some people like me, who want more joy in their lives … and want ideas on how to invite it in.

And why ‘joy’?

Well, happiness has been done.

… laughing …

And, after reading the books and doing the exercises and dabbling in the neuroscience and chemistry, there is a possibility that the ‘happiness’ goal is not something that I will ever realise.  Or, even if I do – may take a while.

And I would like a little respite on the journey. The life equivalent of a sugar-fuelled high.

I would like more moments of ‘joy’; I would like us to become better friends.

This blog will serve as a map to how I worked it out.