I recently heard that to effectively study happiness, researchers tend to break it down into joy and contentment. It suddenly explained why I’ve never thought of “happy” as an emotion. “Happy” means different things to different people, whereas “joy” and “contentment” are basically understood by all, and mean very different things.
To me, “content” means generally feeling satisfied, not longing for something to be very different. “Joy” is more of an occasional, intense burst of delight. This made me think of Brene’ Brown’s musing on joy and twinkle lights:
“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.” – Brene’ Brown
Here’s to lots of twinkle lights in your holidays.