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Difference Between Joy and Happiness

joy-pdJoy vs. Happiness

Both joy and happiness are positive and desirable emotions where a person has a feeling of being satisfied. These feelings are based on certain reasons, and the nature that causes that particular feeling can differ.

Joy comes from the inner-self of a person, and is connecting with the source of life within you. It is caused by something really exceptional and satisfying. The source of joy is something or someone greatly appreciated or valued, and it is not only about oneself, but also about the contentment of those people whom you value the most.

Happiness is an emotion experienced when in a state of well-being. The state of well-being is characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happiness is simply the state of being happy. It may be caused by good fortune, luck or various other pleasures that range from person to person. Happiness is a result of something that is outside of you, and gained by observing or doing that particular thing. Social networks and human relationships are the most important correlation with happiness. Happiness spreads through relationships like friends, siblings, partners, neighbors etc.

Happiness may be momentary, as it is a result of short-term contentment; but joy, being related to the inner self, is long lasting. Happiness simply pleases a person, while joy brings warmth to that person’s heart, and brings contentment to one’s heart.

Happiness comes from outside, while joy from within, and with this attitude of joy, the person is in a state of grace. Joy is an extension to happiness. It is a continuous state of happiness, and a positive emotion. It is not merely a fleeting thing, like happiness.

Happiness can also be characterized as being materialistic, and rests more on worldly pleasures, while joy is a state derived from the emotional well-being of a person.

In summary, the differences between joy and happiness can be put down as:

1. Happiness is caused by luck, good fortune and other worldly pleasures, whereas joy is caused by overall happiness and soul satisfying incidents.

2. Happiness is more momentary, as it is a result of short-term contentment, while joy is long lasting.

3. Happiness merely pleases a person, while joy warms the person’s heart.

4. Happiness mostly comes from outside things, as it is gained by observing or doing a particular thing. On the other hand, joy lies within a person.

5. As an example: If a person wins a lottery he is happy, but if he raises that same amount by his hard work, he would feel rejoiced.


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6 Comments

  1. I agree with this article but I have an idea of something to add to help the definition:
    The word “happiness” translates into Latin as happenstance. When broken down this literally means ‘happen’ (lucky; happy, elation) ‘stance’ (shortening for circumstance). In summary, happiness is defined as a temporary circumstance of elation. Conversely, joy is comparatively not temporary. In many cases Joy is described as something a person carries with them continually. It is more so a state of being rather than a fleeting emotion. Origins of the word Joy are traced back to Biblical writings and have direct Hebrew translations.

  2. as robin says, happiness is what makes you feel good – it is an extremely selfish experience and as soon as circumstances change, it vanishes. for instance killing jews seems to have made hitler happy, as soon as it was his turn to die we must surmise he did not appreciate it very much, his happiness was gone. i use this extreme example because one man’s happiness can be the other man’s sorrow. which begs the question whether ‘universal’ happiness is not akin to what we refer to as morality… i drift…
    Jesus Christ is joy. He is our hope and God’s ONLY guarantee of salvation and being in His presence forever – in other words if you just have that fuzzy feeling about God which you think is joy and it is not in Christ, it still is only happiness and is guaranteed to let you down – forever…
    God bless in Christ
    gabriel

  3. Very good!

  4. May I add.. Happiness is the emotion we experience while a specific pleasurable event currently happens. On the other hand, joy is the emotion that we experience every time we think of happy thoughts from the past.

  5. Joy vs Happiness

    I can see why people are so confused. These terms are tossed around in the same blender with no delineation. Words are not different based on someone’s whim but meaning. Then after these terms are tossed around like a salad, people wonder why they are not happy in life.

    “Both joy and happiness are positive and desirable emotions where a person has a feeling of being satisfied.”

    This begins the problem. While both joy and happiness are positive, they are both Not emotions.

    Also, how can they both be desirable emotions, and “…where a person has a feeling…..of being satisfied.”

    Ok–which is it? Are they emotions or feelings?

    “These feelings are based on certain reasons, and the nature that causes that particular feeling can differ.”

    Now (feelings) are based on only certain reasons?

    And, what is the nature that causes a particular feeling?

    Happiness is NOT caused by luck, good fortune and other worldly pleasures,

    “…joy is NOT caused by overall happiness and soul satisfying incidents.

    Joy is momentary, as it is a result of short-term trigger, while happiness is long lasting.

    Happiness is similar to well-being and contentment and not what merely pleases a person: that is joy. While happiness warms the person’s heart.

    Joy is triggered from outside things, as it is gained by observing or doing a particular thing. On the other hand, happiness lies within a person.

    As an example: If a person wins a lottery he can be both happy and full of joy. And if he raises that same amount by his hard work, he would feel rejoiced and happy.

    Simple test: how long can you laugh? How long can you cry? Those are temporary emotions. Now, how long have you loved your parents? That is a sustainable feeling.

    Emotions are triggered by outside stimulus. Most of our emotions are given shape by our inner subtle feelings.

    Mixing emotions, feelings, outside stimulus, inner drive and long-term with emotions and short-term with feelings, ensures confusion.

    Most of this has been well defined centuries ago. They can be found in the OED that includes word etymology.

    Science also confuses students because “feelings” cannot be measured and therefore, are not included separately from emotions. So, you are not to be blamed for your comment.

    You just need to explore European Psychology to get a better handle on these terms.

    The western view of psychology is very limiting as personality profile tests have proven.

  6. hi voris, i proffer that it is european psychology which is to blame for the present ‘confusion’. Christ, not being recognized for who He is especially by psychology at large, has made it very clear. happiness comes from the greek makarios and includes ‘blessed’ – blessed is an ongoing reality in scripture. joy, from the greek chara, is an everlasting reality of exceeding cheerfulness or gladness. both are to be found in a true relationship with Christ – anyone believing that they experience either of them outside of Christ will be very disappointed as the ‘high’ of the moment will soon fade into eternal oblivion. the bottom line is both are to be found in a relationship, not circumstances (see acts 16:25!)
    in Christ
    gabriel

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