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Sustaining Joy Beyond Happiness

This morning as I stood on my porch, I noticed that the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. I marveled at its beauty and the significance of its presence. All that ran through my mind was “April showers bring May flowers.”

I reflected on the amount of change that has happened in the last year and how joyful it makes me feel. I got to thinking, what is joy and how do we sustain it?

Joy is more than a happy feeling

Happiness and joy are often used interchangeably, but are two different things. Happiness is defined as deep pleasure in or contentment with one's circumstances. Therefore, happiness is influenced by external factors and can be fleeting. Joy on the other hand is a feeling or state of well-being and contentment. Joy is deep rooted and is cultivated internally. To experience joy, there has to be an overall sense of wellness and well-being in an individual. Happiness is an aspect of joy, but true joy does not require constant expressions of happiness.

Joy is a discipline

Yes. Joy is a discipline. You would never think about putting joy and discipline in the same sentence, but they go hand in hand. True spiritual joy can be experienced through the world around you, but it also requires shaping your thoughts in a way that increases your understanding of yourself and your purpose. As you increase your state of well-being through acts of self care, personal development and spiritual development, you solidify your joy. It requires maintenance in order to sustain it.

Joy can weather storms

And lastly, there is longevity in joy. Happiness is like a leaf in the wind. Joy is like a well-built house in a hurricane. After it is all said and done, there might be some broken glass, but the house is still standing tall. With a few repairs, it will be back to it’s full glory. Joy can exist in the absence of momentary feelings of happiness. Going through loss in whatever way it may manifest itself, a divorce, loss of a job, death of a loved one, your happiness may be lost, but it is still possible to have joy. In some ways, joy provides some hope that you will be okay.

If your joy has taken a hit, know that it is possible to regain joy. Let the spark begin so that you can maintain and sustain it for a lifetime.

What are your small acts of joy? How do you maintain your joy?


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