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“When you give joy to other people, you get more joy in return. You should give a good thought to happiness that you can give out.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

How we approach a person often sets the mood for the conversation. I have found that things get off to a better start when I am upbeat and friendly. Simple things like a smile can change both your day and the day of those that you encounter. Positive interactions often happen when a person is joyful, and that energy is passed on to others,

Many people interchange happiness and joy, believing they are the same thing; they may be similar but not the same.

What is joy vs. happiness? Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure. Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion.

Those reading my blog know I am a woman of faith and believe my joy comes from the Lord.

What is the spiritual meaning of joy? Joy is a choice. Rick Warren gave us this definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

For me, joy is something that I can hold on to, even in dark times. When my mom died, I was devastated. I spent two years caring for her, and after her death, I was unsure what I would do next. I found joy in the sadness during the years of caring for her. My mom cared for me when I was young, and it was a privilege to care for her during such a difficult time. Between treatments, we talked, I took her for rides, and we enjoyed each other’s company. At a certain point in her treatment, I knew she would die. I cried, journaled, and prayed; even though I was experiencing many emotions, I found joy in the process,

I was happy when I bought a new car. It was a used car, the color I wanted, and it ran well during the test drive. (It has many miles on it, but Subaru is supposed to last forever!)

I am thankful for my life; there have been many difficult times and sadness. I did not always feel joyful at those times. Finally, I got to where I had to decide to find joy. I was fortunate, and several friends helped me get to that place.

Today, I work on finding joy and happiness in all situations. Sometimes I am despondent, but still, I have joy. How does that work, you might say? At my core, I know that God and friends love me; there is a plan for my life, and that whatever difficult circumstance I am experiencing is temporary and purposeful. So, in enduring hardship, sometimes not gracefully, I move to the next thing. I also keep a gratitude journal so that when I feel defeated, I can return to my entries and see the positives in life.

How do you increase joy?

· Perform regular aerobic physical activity.

· Dedicate yourself to others.

· Connect with your spiritual side.

· Discover something new.

· Permit yourself to take a few moments of pleasure, especially when feeling low.

· Pay attention to the good.

· Conversely, limit negativity

· Focus on efforts that bring meaning to your life.

What are the benefits of joy?

· Long-lasting health benefits.

· Helps your mental state.

Interventions to increase joy may also,

· Decrease stress hormones.

· Improve your pain.

· Relieve depression.

Finally, joy can help you to live longer!

I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal to remind you of the good things in life.

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