I’ve been thinking a lot about JOY lately—what it is, what it feels like, how to bring more into my life, etc.
I’m fairly certain you have your definition of joy but if I were to ask you today exactly what joy is, I am guessing you might struggle a bit.
How do you describe joy?
I started by looking joy up in the dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster, joy is a feeling of great happiness, pleasure or delight.
To me, it’s definitely more than happiness, more than being content, more than simply having fun. It’s an intense feeling of extreme happiness. Your heart is full and feels like bursting. You are open. Really you are just being and experiencing your true essence and nothing else.
It can be elusive too. Think of a time you felt true joy and then describe it. When I think of joy, it’s like a moment out of time.
It’s jumping on a trampoline and that split second when you are high in the air, arms wide open, a silly grin on your face and it’s that breath just before you start to come back down.
It’s swinging on a swing and that exact second when you are as high as you can go face into the sunshine right before you start to come back to earth.
It’s dancing and not caring who is watching.
When I think about all that my most joyful moments have in common, I come up with 3 key characteristics.
1. I am 100% in the moment. When I experience true joy, I am not thinking about anything. I am totally in the moment and feeling—not thinking. I am consumed by pure emotion.
2. I am in my body. Not my head. My most joyful moments are when I am moving my body – jumping, swinging, dancing, spinning, flying (ok, I can’t fly unaided yet but I know I would experience joy if I could). The point is I am doing and not thinking.
3. I am open. When I googled joy, every single image of joy that came up in the search was of someone with their arms wide open. Many were also jumping, but the common theme I found was wide open arms. Isn’t that interesting? I feel that too. When my arms are wide open my heart is also open, that is joy. Just try to open your arms wide, spin in a circle or jump up and down and not feel even a tiny bit of joy. In order to feel joy, you need to be open to it. If you are closed down, it’s practically impossible.
For me a totally intensely joyful moment, means I am 100% in the moment, in my body, feeling not thinking and my heart is wide open. What does joy look like for you?
Now that I know, I can go and create more joy in my life and so can you. And, who doesn’t want more joy?
P.S. This is not to say that I don’t also enjoy other types of special moments (like time spent with my kids, reading a great book, that perfect cup of tea)…it’s just that most often those are moments of pure contentment or happiness, not 100% what I would describe as pure joy.
Now it’s your turn. What is joy to you? When are your most joyful moments? Let me know in the comments below.