A joyful life, lived in the blissful balance of spiritual health, emotional stability, and physical fitness, is the best existence any person on planet earth can hope to habitually experience. Joy is the heartbeat of life for today and the engine of hope for tomorrow. Without joy, life becomes an uninteresting affair, a circuitous journey, and may even end in a tragedy.

Joy is one of the greatest attitudes to cultivate in life. Its benefits are countless.

Benefits of Joy

(i) Joy breeds deep pleasant feelings in us and also facilitates the release of chemicals in our body, in their right quantities, that build up our health and sustain it. Also, it is very difficult for joyous (not just happy) people to be victims of heart failure. The joy of the Lord is the strength of your heart and life, Nehemiah 8:10.

(ii) It attracts good friends and vital connections. People naturally flow to and connect with joyful people. Nobody enjoys the company of a frowning or irritable fellow.

(iii) Wealth flows to joy. In a few short years, Zuckerberg has become a very popular and wealthy person because through Facebook he is busy creating world harmony, busy connecting friends and busy promoting the attitude of joy among people.

(iv) Joy is a great source of inspiration. One of the best secrets of the success of Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientists the world has ever produced, was joyful attitude. No wonder he was supper creative and innovative.

(v) Joy empowers people who have failed in life, business or any other career to bounce back. Oprah Winfrey is a well-known name not only in the entertainment industry but also worldwide. She grew up as the daughter of a single mother. At age 9, she was sexually abused, at 14 she got pregnant but lost the baby.

Even the entertainment industry was never rosy to her initially. At a local television station she worked, she was even considered unfit for the television and was later fired. But in all those bouts of difficulties she kept a joyful, optimistic attitude. Today, her talk show is the highest-rated in American history. She is a billionaire, doing charity, and adding great value to the world. We can go on and on.

As rewarding as joy is, many desire it but few habitually experience it. Life itself continues to swing between joy and sadness, and most times the pendulum apparently tilts more to the dark side of life and even stays longer there. Hence, poverty, sickness, rising cost of living, death of a loved one, social discrimination and rejection, abuse, being misunderstood, divorce, violence, hate, unemployment, crime, disappointments, backstabbing, etc, daily increase joylessness in the world.

Many think that joy is such a difficult experience to come by on a lasting basis. But in this piece we’ll show you that joy is realizable, obtainable, and possible. We’ll also share with you how to access it on a permanent basis. Let’s first consider the two concepts of happiness and joy.

Is Happiness Different from Joy?

Do you think there is a difference between happiness and joy? Some argue that there is no difference between the two; that they mean one and the same thing. On the other spectrum, others argue that there is a significant difference between the two.

Personally, I know that joy is a product or fruit of the Holy Spirit. For instance, Galatians 5:22 says that, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” So, I decided to search for the number of times the two words (joy and happiness) are used in the King James Version of the Bible and these were my findings. The word “joy” is mentioned 165 times and “joyfulness” two times. On the other hand, the word “happy” is mentioned 28 times, and “happiness” is not mentioned even once. This means that the Bible emphasizes joy over happiness. distinguishes between the two words this way: “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, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, thoughts and events.”

Rachel Fearnley also thinks that the two words don’t mean the same thing, and advises that aiming for joy is more beneficial, as it is less transitory than happiness and is not tied to external circumstances. He believes that so many people, having lost touch with the feeling of joy, not knowing how to cultivate it, resort to quick fixes like alcohol, drugs, and addictive foods or find fleeting moments of happiness from things such as watching the television.

Indeed, joy is inward peace and contentment. Happiness is pleasure that can be experienced from any good external activity, delicious food, social outings, passing of examination, and so on. But joy is a byproduct of a moral lifestyle; it springs from our innermost being. Happiness may be of the mind, but joy is of the heart.

Secrets Of Making Joy a Habitual Lifestyle

(1) Connect with God and depend on Him as your ultimate source for joy. Truth is, it is God who gives joy. Evidence is in Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy….” Seeking for permanent joy outside God is a fruitless exercise. All other things outside God can give you temporary excitement, momentary delight, and happiness that will fade away as the minutes and hours tick by.

(2) Express gratitude to God and people for every good you receive. Be grateful everyday. Some people wait for big breaks before they can say “thank you.” Nothing multiplies good things as deep appreciation and a true heart of gratefulness. “And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small” (Jeremiah 30:19). Both God and man appreciate it when you show gratitude. Beyond that, the attitude of gratefulness grows your spirit and develops your inner man.

Next week, we’ll discuss the concluding part of how you can cultivate and develop a habitual attitude of joy. But let me leave this poser with you. Does giving birth to a baby bring joy or happiness? We welcome your comments.