Happiness or Joy? Does it Really Matter?

BY: JULIE LEVIN

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December is known as the season of joy, but what does that really mean? Is there a difference between happiness and joy? I guess I've never really thought about it. In preparation for this blog post based on joy, I did some research and found most agree happiness is more of a temporary emotion, but joy is an attitude of the heart. However, it's also said happiness is a synonym of joy. OK, so let's go with that train of thinking, because I don't tend to separate out joy and happiness — in my mind at least.

December is said to be the most wonderful time of year, bringing us the most joy. Why is that? Well, there's Christmas of course, but I don't happen to celebrate that. The crux of the holiday though is being with family and friends, and I certainly relate to that! 

First, a bit about me that might explain why I've always been a pretty happy person. I'm a work hard, play hard kind of girl. I work my tail off at two different jobs, but in my spare time, you can always find me doing something social. Everyone knows I need a good week's notice when making plans, but once I commit, you better know I'll be at dinner or whatever social occasion it happens to be with bells on. I've often said, in fact, being with others makes me the absolute happiest. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my alone time, and when the tiredness sets in, there's nowhere else I want to be than sitting on my couch watching some good old TV. If I have the choice though, I'd catch up with friends and family every day of the week. Even if I can't be with them in person, a good phone call or Skype session always helps.

What else makes me tick, happiness-wise? I'm a big music lover, and songs have helped me through some of my darkest moments. I'm also a singer, so belting out a tune in the car, shower or at karaoke always puts me in a good mood. Lyrics additionally speak volumes to me, and if I need a good pick-me-up, I'll put on whatever song I'm feeling. 

Another saving grace in my life has been my positivity. I've gone through some hard times in my life, but finding something to be grateful for, hoping and knowing things will get better is a real life saver. I've found another thing that makes me happy is sharing positivity with others. In my relationship for example, we both have good and bad days and take turns supporting each other. If my boyfriend is feeling down, I try to share some positive vibes and vice versa. He hasn’t always lived his life thinking positively in tough times, so we're working together to bring that to the forefront.

So, my advice to you if you're struggling to find the joy in your life:

  • Figure out exactly what makes you happy. Whether that's being around people, reading a good book at home, heading to a concert or climbing a mountain, I'm a big believer in creating your own happiness.

  • Talk it out. Perhaps you need another perspective to remind you what really matters in life or just someone to listen to you as you vent about today's problems or worries about the future.

  • Blast a good old happy song and sing along (doesn't matter if you're a good singer or not). You'll feel better I promise!

  • If you feel down, try to think of at least one thing in your life that brings you joy every day, big or small. If you start doing this every day, you'll always feel a bit of happiness.

  • In the meantime, a very happy and joyful holiday to you, whatever you celebrate.


Julie is a digital producer, on-air news anchor, writer and a self-proclaimed history and classic rock geek. When she's not behind the scenes or mid broadcast, she's hitting the town trying new restaurants or meeting up with as many friends as possible in one day.