Happiness vs Joy

Wait-a-minute, Happiness vs Joy? Aren’t they the same thing?

Vibrationally, happiness and joy are so similar you can hardly tell them apart, somewhere around the mid-500 range. We get them confused because they feel the same, though they are quite different.

Happiness

Happiness is a feeling you feel passively, like if you think of holding an adorable new baby who is fascinated with your face, with its firm grip around your finger, or being in a room full of happy, celebratory children (who are not out of control), going to a (non-offensive) comedy show, or concert.

All these things (or whatever the equivalent is for you) make us feel happy by the brain’s administering the release of the happy hormones, oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Who wouldn’t be happy after being injected with this happiness cocktail.

Happiness comes from external sources, whether they are imagined, witnessed live, or self-inflicted. That is to say, you can visualize something in your mind that you have witnessed live and still release the same happy hormones, you can watch a movie, post on social media, self-administer some substance, or otherwise trick your brain into releasing them.

However, you feel happy, it’s all good because knowing how to be happy and achieving the state of happiness is an awesome state of mind and it is so much better than not being happy at all. Happiness is a relatively easy state of mind to achieve if you want to feel better.

Good thing for us mere mortals, we can find ways to get ourselves into this happy state, particularly if we’re not feeling happy, or finding it difficult to find any happiness at all. We know there are things we can do to get a shot of the good stuff.

Joy

Then, there is joy, which releases the same hormonal cocktail, but it has a decidedly different feature of having an active component, which happiness doesn’t require.

Enjoying something is not a passive observance, it is an active participation, it includes the action of doing something to achieve the state of joy. For instance, for artist-types, getting lost in the creation process sustains the state of joy. For the sports enthusiasts, actually playing a round of golf, or taking a hike, or a little volleyball on the beach, whatever your thing is, doing it takes you to that place of joy.

For those with a motherly instinct (even if you’re a man), actually holding and interacting with a baby takes you to joy, while merely thinking about it makes you happy.

To enjoy something comes from within, the feeling in your gut which vibrates throughout your whole being when you are actively engaged in doing something you love to do. Joy is seated in your heart and lights a fire that spreads throughout your entire system.

The joy of enjoyment has a more self-sustaining mechanism due to having the activity associated with many psychological and physiological components. The more active and focused your various skills and attention is, the more sustained the state is, as well as more easily and effectively triggered via recall.

For instance, happiness will take a bit of imagination to re-establish the state and release the hormones, while recalling a joyous activity can trigger the release at the mere mention or thought of it.

Both happiness and joy are essential to achieving your highest and best while experiencing all the good things this life has to offer. Living a better life will have you experiencing both enjoying activities more as well as being happier most of the time.

Here’s to more happiness and joy for you,

-Amen.

What Do You Want More Than Anything?

If you’re anything like the people that I encounter in my life on a daily basis, you’re answer would be,

“I just want to be happy.”

With everything that we have today, tablets, cell phones computer, WiFi, facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and the many other conveniences we have. It wasn’t that long ago and none of this existed and if you would have brought it up in conversation, people would laugh at how preposterous the idea might be. Even after having gone to the moon, and watching the fantasy TV space-western, Star Trek, they still laughed.

Now, only a few years later, we cannot conceive of life without everything we have instant access to, how we are all connected, no longer separated by distance, geography or time zones.

Yet, it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re barely making it on a minimum wage job, or a multi-millionaire, if I ask you what you want more than anything, if you dared to be honest, you would say,

“I want to be happy.”

Happiness is that illusive state of heart and mind that few of us are able to entertain for any period of time. Sure, we’re able to find things which bring us happiness, it is not long and these things which once were so sparkly and exciting, lose their luster and no longer make us feel good, and we seek some other form of happiness, or after a while, we might even give up on the idea altogether.

After a while, if you’ve all but given up on the idea of having any degree of happiness, you might think that no one has your back, you’re unable to trust other people, if you see other people being happy, you think they are delusional or faking it.

It’s difficult to get a grip on the idea of happiness, because it means something different to every one of us. And then you might actually be quite happy, but aren’t afraid to perceive your own happiness. We’re so busy relentlessly running the rat race, that we can’t possibly slow down enough to smell the roses, or even have the time to think there are roses at all, except for some inspiration for romantic poetry.

The pace of life, the calling of technologies clamoring for our attention, the stress of the struggle to survive and just make it through this life as best we can, keeps us from enjoying what we do have and joy floats further and further away. You might be surprised, if you could take a sabbatical from these constant pressures of life, you might be able to find enough peace and calm, to appreciate what you do have.

If you are but a victim of life, you need to find a way to stop life from having this power over you… and this also looks very different to different people. You need to carve out a place for you to enjoy some peace and contentment, keeping in mind that the things that bring true happiness may not be as large, expensive, or far away to find great joy in them. If you had the time and peace enough to appreciate them, you might find (as others have) that happiness can be found in the smallest of things.

So, whenever you can find even the smallest sacred space to ask yourself the question (maybe now) ask yourself, “What makes me feel happy?” Or, if you dare, ask yourself, “What could I be doing, right now, that would bring me joy, and make me so happy?” The answer to the second question is your happiness wake up call.

If you want to be happy, you need to take responsibility for your own state of happiness. It’s up to you to determine what you want, where you are, where you want to be, and to take the action necessary to move you from here to there. No one else can make you happy (you may have learned that the hard way). You must do the work to get there; it is all up to you.

You know what happiness is to you, you know what makes you happy, just by the thinking of it. Your heart, your feelings do not betray you in your quest for happiness. These feeling are your compass that you can use to guide you to what your heart desires and brings you a great sense of meaning and happiness. And you might find that these things are neither expensive, nor difficult to attain, but you must take the action to vector in the circumstances and opportunities for you to be in the right place at the right time in the right state of mind to manifest and experience your happiness.

No fairy godmother can wave her want and magically make you happy (at least, not for long). Your journey to attaining your personal state of happiness is on you, and you alone, and within you are all the tools and resources you need to make it happen.

Find opportunities to be happy in all areas of live, including family life, work environments, in nature or in the adoration of a pet. Seek happiness and put yourself in the stream of it (as it is flowing all around you) and you will find yourself in the flow of it, instead of watching happiness flow all around you.

If You’re Happy and You Know It

I was out having dinner with my friend, Norman, and he couldn’t help but notice the uplifted countenance of our server. Unable to help himself, he asked, “Why are you so happy?”

If you're happy and you know it

Somewhat surprised the he’d even notice, the server smiled and told us about her painting she had entered in the State Fair and that she’d just received a text on her phone that she’d won first place in her division.

Her exuberance was apparent. I remembered a song we used to sing with the kids that went like, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands…” No hand clapping was needed here. You could tell she was happy.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you can pretty much tell when anyone is really happy, even if they’re trying to conceal it, you can just tell.

So what makes people happy?

Good News

Good news, like hearing that you’ve just won an award for your artwork, would certainly make you happy, Even if you were depressed moments before, good news can fire up you happiness hormones and usher you into joy in a heartbeat.

Ever know someone who was happy all the time?

I know it’s harder to come by these days, but most everyone knows someone who is disgustingly perpetually happy. You probably think to yourself, “No one could really be that happy,” assuming that they must be faking it, have something to hide or are full of crap; all reasonable thoughts for a person who finds it difficult to maintain a high level of joy for very long.

Now, ask one of these annoying happy people the same question, “Why are you so happy?”

They’re likely to go on and on about how the whole world is comprised of beauty, kindness, benevolence and goodness… enough to make you think that either they’ve taken some amazing illicit hallucinogen or simply lost any sense of reality and their mind to boot.

They are also likely to be thinking about all the good things in life they are anticipating, as well as what they are doing to move themselves closer to the things they truly desire for themselves or their loved ones. How could they not be happy, thinking thoughts, like those?

You might walk away, shaking your head, thinking this person might be better off suited for a straight jacket.

Nonetheless, they aren’t hurting anyone – if anything, just the opposite – their positive and outlook directed at the right person at the right time might just save a life, or in some small way make the world a better place. The cumulative effect of happy people, like these, can have enormous impact on the planet and its peoples.

Yes, you think, but what about all the pain, violence, poverty, injustice, etc…?

The people who are happy likely know about and acknowledge all the evils of the world but choose to focus instead on all the good things of the world. For every bad thought you could think, there is a good one that you could choose to spend your time dwelling on instead.

One thing for certain: Bad thoughts make you feel bad and good thoughts make you feel good.

So, when it comes down to it, happiness is a choice.

And if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

Happiness How to be Happy

The most important component for enjoying a fun-filled life full of happiness and joy is just like magic or anything else: It’s easy once you know the secret of the happiness hormone. Once you have this knowledge, the question is

Happiness how to be happyWhat will you do about it?

Hidden within our molecular structure is a hormone that when released into our bloodstream allows us to experience happiness and joy. The hormone has been identified and named, “oxytocin.” There is no pill or supplement that you can take to replace the hormone or trigger its production.

Oxytocin is created naturally during moments of great feelings of love, falling in love and loving orgasm. We experience the greatest happiness when oxytocin levels are at their highest levels. This is why oxytocin is referred to as, “the love hormone.”

The higher your level of oxytocin, the happier you are; you feel better, experience less cardiovascular stress, enjoy increased immune system and a longer lifespan with a higher quality of life.

How to Be Happy

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to ramp up your oxytocin levels to increase happiness and joy (besides the obvious: falling in love, engaging in love-filled sex or having a newborn baby).

Only you have the ability to pull the trigger, releasing the happiness hormone, but you must take action to do so.

Here are some things you can do to increase your oxytocin levels post haste:

Watch a movie

There are two types of films you could watch that will trigger the release of oxytocin. They are movies that make you laugh out loud, or cry tears of joy or sadness.

Social media

Yes, engaging and interacting with other people in a positive manner (haters are excluded because “haters gonna hate” indicates increased testosterone – not oxytocin) via social media, like facebook, Twitter, etc… increases the happiness hormone.

Donate

Making a contribution or donation, expecting nothing in return, is an excellent way to release the happiness hormone.

Pray

If you’re open to prayer/meditation, the idea of interacting with your higher source or self (feel free to call it whatever you want. I am quite comfortable with the idea of praying to God, but to each their own…) this will release oxytocin.

Pet an Animal

If you’re so inclined, petting a cute, adorable animal (who is amiable to the idea and not a ferocious man-eating critter) will get those happiness juices flowing.

Nature Walk

Taking a stroll through natural surroundings, especially on a sunny day, when you can appreciate trees, grass, flowers or a natural body of water or shoreline will do the trick.

Get a Massage

A little trip to the massage therapist for your choice of either a sports or relaxation massage (or a spa day) will do the trick.

Increase Happiness Hormone X2

You can achieve twice the amount of oxytocin release by engaging in activities with another person (also, in most cases, the other person gets similar benefits). This elevated type of happiness is more related to joy. Consider:

Full-on Listening

Talk to someone – or more importantly invite them to talk and share – focusing totally on the speaker and their delivery. Look into their eyes, watch their mouth, note their voice inflection, posture and be aware of their body language. (And for god’s sake, turn your cell phone off.)

Do a Meal

Either take someone out to share a meal – your treat – or make someone a special dinner to share with him or her.

Dance

Getting out on the dance floor with someone to bust a move is a great way to increase your happiness levels. (And don’t worry; it’s more about the wiggling to the music than it is your proficiency at dancing. No judges here.)

Have a Thrill

Do something that you’ve never done before – especially if it has a little danger thrown in for flavor – like a roller coaster ride or skydiving.

Be Trusted

The feeling that comes with being trusted by another person (not trusting someone else) releases the happiness hormone. Being trustworthy, helps stack the deck in your favor.

Say, “I love you.”

Every time you communicate your admiration for another person, using the words, “I love you,” works just like an injection of oxytocin.

Hugging

Doctor’s orders a daily prescription of 8 hugs per day to keep your hug quotient at its optimal levels.

Happy Happiness

Enjoy these little activities that can give you a happy life.

May each day be your happiest day ever.