Joy vs Happiness (HLD 143)

12 Aug 2020

I heard this discussed recently and it’s been swirling around in my brain.

Someone who thinks about these things and puts them on the internet summed it up nicely – “Joy and happiness are wonderful things to experience, but are very different. Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are. Happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts or events”.

That article (from a life coach – sorry… lifestyle mentor!!!) went on to say that the way we should all seek more joy in our lives is to: a) meditate; b) stay away from social media; and c) keep a journal, specifically detailing things you are grateful for.

I’m ok with those things, sort of. I love this particular form of social media though – but then I haven’t experienced any of the negative impacts it can have. But I do, I must admit, remove from my screen people that have a negative or abrasive attitude. I think that is the way to treat social media – if it’s good for you, keep going. If it upsets you, stop. And never ever ever EVER put something on social media that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. (And if you are the sort of person who would say nasty things to a persons face, then maybe you need to seek the services of a lifestyle mentor. Or a psychologist. Maybe both.)

Meditating? Definitely. I’ve never worked out how it should be done properly, but I would say quite comfortably that I get all the benefits from meditation from a nice long walk. It’s where my mind clears, but also where a specific thought will erupt into my brain. Which then gets written in this format…

Which takes me to the journaling. Until coronavirus, I usually wrote spasmodically. Holiday blogs and Christmas newsletters, that sort of thing. The concept of writing something – anything – each day is an interesting challenge! But looking back over the last almost five months of constant writing I’m quite amazed at the direction of my thoughts. It is definitely something I will continue doing long after the Literary Diarrhoea posts have ended.

A friend told me that, as lockdown was looming earlier on, a good friend left by her front door a journal, telling her that “even if I’m not here having coffee with you to talk to, you can write it all down”. She has kept doing so and told me she finds great benefit in it.

If the thought of writing down your deepest thoughts is too challenging, can I recommend a “gratitude journal”? I actually saw one in Kmart a while back. If each day we could all privately acknowledge something that we are grateful for, then maybe ever-present joy with overtake transient happiness in our lives.

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