10 Main Differences between Joy and Happiness

What is joy?

According to the dictionary, Joy is a synonym of great happiness or pleasure. Joy and happiness are sometimes used as combined but actually, there are many differences between joy and happiness. Joy is an emotion and inner feeling which can last longer depending on internal cues of the body.

differences between joy and happiness

Things and people can bring joy in life. Joy is a feeling arising from a sense of well-being and self-satisfaction. It is found in research that joy increases self-confidence, and self-esteem in humans.

What is happiness?

Happiness is an outward expression. Outward expression includes expression which can be noticed by an outside person. Happiness is a state of mind. Happy moments of life are exciting and filled with spontaneity.

differences between joy and happiness

Happiness is having fun and laughing a lot. If you seek happiness, then life will be great. When someone asked ‘how are you feeling now? we can say I am happy because happiness is an outward expression.

10 major gaps found in Differences between joy and happiness. They are the following:

10 Major differences between Joy and Happiness

  • Joy is seeking meaning and purpose in life. Happiness is seeking pleasure and comfort.
  • Joy is an inner feeling but happiness is an outward expression.
  • Materialistic things can give happiness to a person but spirituality give joy.
  • Happiness is a state of being happy but joy means satisfaction.
  • Happiness can be felt by pleasurable activities like games, prizes, food, sex but for joy moral value is taken into account.
  • Happiness is temporary and lasts for a short duration of time but joy lasted for a long time based on internal conditions.
  • Joy endures hardship and trials and connects with meaning and purpose. Happiness is finding pleasure in any activity.
  • Joy can not be observed by anyone but happiness is observed by an outside person.
  • Happiness is caused by subject or thing and remain contemporay. After some time a person forget it but joy may last for alonger period of time because it is more related to inner self.
  • A person pursues happiness but chooses joy.

Examples of differences between joy and happiness

  • Winning a lottery can bring happiness to a person. Getting a desired job brings joy.
  • Mother will feel joy after giving birth to a baby. A person will be happy after purchasing a new car.
  • We feel happy when watching a famous dance show but feel real joy when we actually dance by ourselves.
  • Happiness can be observed by watching a favorite game but joy can be felt by falling in love.

Why choose joy over happiness?

Some people try to feel happy but joy really isn’t in their personalities. They are hard-working people. They are a doer. They are goal-oriented. But this goal-driven nature leads them to always think about what’s next.

There’s no time to enjoy the moment because the next opportunity is right around the corner. Instead of always thinking about what’s next, most people choose to follow joy. In the Hebrew Bible, we see in several places that the Israelites choose joy.

Joy is the inner peace, it is more than happiness. The real joy can be felt by playing with a pet, spending time with a loved partner, praying. Joy makes a person happy from the inside.

How to to Get More Joy in Your Life

Let’s look at the common life challenges, why we should seek joy instead of happiness, and how to get more joy in our lives. You can find 4 psychologically proven ways to become happy.

Life Challenge 1: Loneliness

Loneliness is one of the top 3 life challenges for 20 to 45-year-olds. This lack of joy in life has a negative impact on our emotional, mental, physical, and social health.

In addition, research has shown that loneliness and social isolation are linked to serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, depression, high blood pressure, poor sleep, and decreased quality of life.

A study of U.S. adults aged 25 to 80 found that loneliness significantly reduces social activities, sleep, and feelings of belonging, and increases feelings of dissatisfaction with life and decreased well-being.

We should participate in social activities, make our circle big and make new friends. Joy may not always be for oneself but be about making others happy.

Life Challenge 2: Materalistic

Most of us think Material (Happiness), Being more affluent, A bigger home, More attractive friends, A better career, A smaller body, A newer car give them happiness but all these are illogical and inauthentic.


There are many differences between joy and happiness. Major differences are state of mind, inward or outward feeling, duration, things, spirituality, dependence on activity. If you want to measure your happiness level online, you can use this online happiness measure tool.

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