The Habit of Joy

It was probably after the second beer that a few close friends and I (which I had not seen in a long time) started reminiscing about the good old days. Pranks, parties, soccer matches, the chase for girls and just hanging out, were among the best memories we could recall.

It seemed curious that what was supposed to be the big hallmarks of “joy” in our lives, like graduating college, didn't seem as important now. Rather, the things which barely crossed our minds as meaningful, the small details of what laid between the lines, were indeed what brought us the most joy out of anything else.

Recalling having graduated does bring happiness to me, but it is very different from the pure form of joy that I feel when I sit with my closest friends. Seems like the whole world is searching madly for the recipe for happiness, but perhaps instead what we should all be concentrating is on cementing the habit of Joy.

Joy comes from within, it's a belief as much as it is a practice. It is something that lasts,.Joy is being able to feel good even in a middle of a life storm.  Getting a weight reduction operation may bring you happiness, but working hard, avoiding temptations, exercising and eventually loosing weight will bring something more than just plain happiness.  Joy  is a process of constant hard work, cultivation, and looking at where one is standing in life through a lense of positiveness.      

The University of Edinburgh conducted a study  that suggests a person has a baseline of happiness that is fixed on the genes and personality style  in which they were born and can increase or decrease over time.  Moreover a study where researchers interviewed Illinois State Lottery winners and compared them with non-winners and with people who had suffered an accident that left them paraplegic tested their happiness levels. The results  found that the overall happiness levels of lottery winners spiked when they won, but returned to pre-winning levels after just a few months.

With regard to both their levels of happiness, lottery winners were not significantly happier than non winners. Whereas, accident victims were slightly less happy but not by much! This is known as hedonic adaptation, which is the observed tendency of humans returning to a baseline of happiness in spite of  major positive or negative life changes.   It is important to state that happiness is not something shallow, but it is imperative to understand that our standard of happiness is constantly changing.

How People Try to Be Joyful
To master this habit it is important to understand that being joyful means being connected; connected to other people in life, with nature, also by appreciating the arts.  Life can be a heavyweight boxing contender, sometimes we will find ourselves in financial struggles, becoming ill, a divorce, death of a loved one or simply just adapting to growing older. These challenges are simply aspects of life that everyone will get to a varying degree until we die.  

When someone experiences joyfulness, physiological and biochemical alterations occur that encourage a sense of well-being, completely altering the negative views of life. Joy is an attitude which soothes even the most sorrowful of moments. Being joyful requires an acceptance of life, as it is, in the present.

To bring more joy and consequently feel happier in life it is important to be social even if it's with a few people, set goals in your life and set a plan on how to achieve it. Put worries and concerns in perspective, and enjoy where you are standing right here, right now, because at the end of the day, the place where you spend the most time, is struggling to achieve your goals and not when you actually achieve them . Joy  is not an emotion. It is not based on something positive happening in life, rather it is more of an attitude,  an attitude that understands that hedonic adaptation will always be pushing us to want more and that it is much more rewarding to realize the grandiosity behind our daily lives, in every little detail which transpires.

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