6 Tips to Level Up Your Joy & Happiness (Yes, There’s a Difference)

We all want to be happy and we all want joy – but what do happiness and joy actually mean?

AND… how can we get more happy and joyful?

Happiness and joy are two very different feelings.

Happiness (the opposite of sadness) is an emotion that is the result of circumstances. When circumstances change, emotions also change.

For example, you may feel happy when you’re enjoying a sunny summer day, chatting with a friend, or know your family is healthy.

You may feel unhappy when your car breaks down, someone is unkind to you, or you’re worried about something happening.

Joy is often used as a synonym for happiness, but joy is different from happiness.

The biggest difference is that joy is an inside job… meaning you create your own joy by choice, trust, and faith that life is good and you’ll be ok no matter the circumstances.

Joy doesn’t change when circumstances change. Even when you feel great sadness, you can still sustain joy.

To me, joy has more deep-seeded origins than happiness, and it affects how you perceive and experience the world.

How to grow your happiness and joy. Happy woman jumping in field.

The following lists of how to get more happiness and joy could go on and on, so I’ve limited it to three 3 each. On my Life Coaching Instagram profile, I share MANY tips, so be sure to follow me on Instagram!

3 Tips for More Happiness

1 – Spend Time With Family and Friends

Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert says that spending more time with your family “is something we know, in general, makes people happier.”

Meet up with that person who makes you laugh or engages in really good conversation.

2 – Spend Time Outside

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time outside to improve your happiness:

Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…

3 – Spend Money on Experiences

Our happiness depends on the activities we engage in, so fun experiences can really boost our happiness!

What makes you feel happy? DO THAT! Travel, go to the movies, take the family on a day trip, buy a fun toy like a trampoline or boat, and the lists goes on.

Of course not all fun experiences that result in happiness cost money, but you get the point.

3 Tips to Grow Your Joy

1 – Empower Yourself with a Gratitude Practice

Practicing gratitude is a powerful step to creating space for joy in your life. It is a mindset that anyone can develop or cultivate.

Practicing gratitude helps people focus on what they have instead of what they lack. The goal is to train your brain to look for things to be grateful for and be more positive. Writing (instead of just thinking about) helps train your brain to look for things to be grateful for throughout each and every day. Every day write 3-5 things for which you’re grateful.

2 – Celebrate Your Wins

Every day, celebrate EVERY step you took outside of your comfort zone. The size of the step is irrelevant because no step is small.

Celebrating yourself can mean taking a break to reenergize, high fiving your awesome self in a mirror (seriously, try it), or sharing the wins with your partner or friend. My favorite way to celebrate is to keep a journal. Each day, write down 5 ways you stepped out of your comfort zone that day.

Writing them down gives you factual evidence of your progress. When you feel like you’re not doing very well, reread your journal entries and the written facts will show you that you ARE making progress.

3 – Surround Yourself with Supportive, Positive People

Joy is a choice, and every choice is influenced by the people in our lives. Increase your chances for happiness and joy by surrounding yourself with positive people who encourage and support you.

Choose to spend time with people who listen judgment-free, remind you of your strengths, make your laugh, and cheer you on. (That person might be different people depending on what type of support you need.) There’s great joy in having a large circle of support, and also in being in someone else’s circle of support. (Learn more about growing your circle of support.)

To get seven more tips to grow your joy, grab my 10 Tips to Grow Your Joy guide:

A Few Last Thoughts About Happiness & Joy

“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”

Eckhart Tolle

Be happy now! Don’t wait to be happy until you get the job, get the partner, get the invite, etc. Be satisfied with the small moments rather than waiting for big moments.

In times when happiness and joy seem to far away from your life, start by imagining yourself both happy and joyful. Let your brain know what they look like, and each will grow incrementally.

Don’t leave your happiness and joy up to chance. Purposely manage your own happiness and joy, and share it with others. Enjoy the journey of growing both your happiness and joy.

Some cultures have different definitions of happiness and joy than what I shared. Do you have different thoughts about being happy and joyful? Let me know in a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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