The Six Types of Joy

The benefits of joy are extraordinary — not just for yourself, but for those around you, too.

The Good Men Project
Change Becomes You
Published in
5 min readFeb 19, 2021

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Photo credit: iStock

By Stephanie Harrison

Scientists generally define joy as a positive emotion where you feel feelings of freedom, safety, and ease, that generally arises in response to something good happening in your life or in the world.

All that is true — but that definition is certainly lacking in the poetry that a writer would use to describe how it feels to experience joy. Like Emily Dickinson, who said “Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” Or the poet Rumi, who wrote that “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Or author Iris Murdoch, who said “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

Joy is such a wonderful emotion. But we don’t learn how to create it in school or in most of our families — leaving us with a joy deficit in our society today.

My own personal definition of joy is that it results from connection. We feel joy when we are truly connected to ourselves, with the people in our lives, with the world around us, with nature, and with the present moment.

The benefits of joy are extraordinary — not just for yourself, but for those around you, too.

When you feel joyful, you experience changes in your body — colors seem brighter, your physical movements feel freer and easier, smiling happens naturally. Your brain changes, too. Research has found that your thinking and attention naturally broaden when you feel joy and other positive emotions, making you a better creative problem solver, more resourceful, and in the long-term, more resilient.

Joy connects us to other people more powerfully than any other experience: watching your sports team win, celebrating a happy life event, singing a hymn in a church, or solving a really hard challenge are all moments of profound connection that can result in joy. And when we feel joy, we are inspired to do good for others — as an emotion, it bonds us to one another and helps us to put aside our differences in order to work towards the common good.

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The Good Men Project
Change Becomes You

We're having a conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Main site is https://goodmenproject.com Email us info@goodmenproject.com