In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, the main character played by Will Smith was often seen running – running from one station to the next in his pivotal pursuit of that which could make him happy. I personally thought the movie should have been called Running.
I read quote somewhere that said, as a culture we have become so obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, yet in the process, we kind of overlook joy. While some may say that joy and happiness are the same. Some may differ. I kind of think that happiness is a measure of how good we feel over time, while joy is how we feel in the present moment.
Like when you notice a multicolored rainbow in the sky, and you smile. Or when you notice a toddler who suddenly interrupts their play and starts dancing when they hear a beat, you laugh, or maybe join in with the joyous moment.
Joy is a primary component in our emotional and physical well-being. Joy allows us to have moments of appreciation, contentment, gratitude, and a sense of self confidence. On a scientific level, we feel joy in our bodies, when something makes us feel joy our brain release neurotransmitters that are responsible for processes and feelings in almost every aspect of the body, from blood flow to digestion.
Feeling more joy promotes a healthier lifestyle, boosts our immune system, fights stress and pain and supports longevity. We all have times when we are just running – running to get to work, running from one meeting to the next, running to get home, running to make dinner, and sometimes even running to bed only to start it all over again.
I want to invite you find mindful moments each day to experience more joy. To laugh more, to smile more, appreciate more and stay in that moment for more than a passing second. The benefits can be rewarding and long lasting.
By Fayetta McMillion-Jones, Health Promotion Program Coordinator