The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

WHAT’S the difference between happiness and joy?

Happiness = from Greek’s makarios = freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries.

Happiness describes a person who received good fortune or just bought a new iPhone as he parades out of a hands-clapping avenue of well-trained Apple staff. 

Joy = from Greek’s chairo = ”good mood of the soul’ and is found only in God and comes from virtue and wisdom’ (Anne Robertson, pastor of Methodist Bible Society quoted by Brené Brown, author, research professor, University of Houston).

Joy bubbles forth from our spirit and heart of gratitude from contentment and well-being usually to God who has helped us. Joy feels deeper. It gives no illusion that the feeling of well-being will evaporate since it’s not attached to circumstances or weather or the vicissitudes of stock shares.  

Joy is intense. It seizes you unexpectedly like when you slipped on a wet floor and fall on your bum. It makes you unpretentious, giddy and silly like a schoolgirl. (Why not school boy? I don’t quite know but girls usually behave this way as easily as glove slides into hand.)

Happiness attaches to circumstances, the whims and emotions as shifty as the number of likes in Facebook. Or the teenybopper adulation for a celebrity who can’t really act. ‘OMG! There’s my idol….! I could almost die!’ Please don’t. 

How to cultivate and maintain joy? 


Be grateful for what you have now.

Abandon fear. 

‘Don’t live life like you’re on the emergency lane, always rushing.’ (Ann Voskamp).

Don’t forecast, don’t predict, don’t extrapolate. 

Dance yourself silly.  When no one is watching. Or if the world is watching,  who cares.

Feel the sun on your face and skin. And feel how alive you are. 

(That’s how the man in red spandex regain his power.)

Gaze at the full moon on a starry night. It’s spellbinding. Don’t howl. Well, howl if you must. 

Don’t forget to breathe. 

Listen. Pay attention. Not to noises but the serenade of the crickets in the still of the night. Listen too to the still small voice that comes stealthily in the quiet of the night prompting and urging you to make right where you’ve gone wrong.


Give thanks to God constantly for the moments you have. 

Why you need effort to hold joy?

Because joy – and happiness – is not constant. Because we are easily perturbed by the many things that assails our poor soul every moment of our life.  We are easily distracted in a noisy busy world. 

Live from a place of gratitude and not wanting and coveting. 

And joy will come again and knock on your heart’s door. 

By @Johnnny_5



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