Is there a difference between feeling joyful and plain old happiness? #lifethisweek

What does Joyful mean?

Denyse’s prompt of JOYFUL for #lifethisweek made me stop and think about the differences between feeling joyful and feeling happy.

I admit I didn’t know how they were different, I just knew they were.

I did some research and found a few quotes that explained things:

Joy is an inner feeling. Happiness is an outward expression.  A person pursues happiness but chooses joy.

Happiness is a destination, joy is an attitude.


My thoughts

Joyful moments to me are transient, meaning they come and go, but oh my, they are fabulous feelings. when they come.

This past week I’ve had a few joyful moments I thought I’d share with you.

Despite the outside temperature being 1 degree, inside the pool area the sun was glinting off the water making everything bright and shiny, plus it was nice and toasty warm.

bright and shiny from the poolside

It was a joyful experience taking my two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter to her weekly swimming lesson.  She asked that Granny Deb take her in, but mummy had to come and watch. Another joyful moment was the instructor calling me ‘mummy’ in all the activities, despite me telling him I was her Granny – it’s the little things!

Swimming lesson fun with granddaughter
Swimming lesson fun with granddaughter

Joyful is the word I’d use to describe the feeling I had while I nursed my three-month-old grandson to sleep and cuddled him close to my heart for over 2 hours.  Just as he was falling asleep, he was smiling and giggling at me and my heart nearly burst with love.

As I was hurtling down the hill on my bike the other day, singing at the top of my voice, I felt joyful and alive.  The smile on my face couldn’t have been any bigger.

I then decided to tackle the single track in the forest behind our house and had another spine tingling ride!

riding the trails
riding the trails

My photos of the autumn colours in Tumbarumba, which I shared on my Deb’s World Facebook page have been seen by thousands, shared and commented on by many people I don’t even know.  It’s a joy to share such beauty, let alone be fortunate to live amongst it!

stunning autumn colours in Tumbarumba
stunning autumn colours in Tumbarumba

A trip to the movies at our local intimate café/cinema, with the Mathematician, was a joy as we both thoroughly enjoyed watching Penguin Bloom.  It’s been a while since we’ve been out to the movies! I had a remedial massage later in the day which was pure bliss!

Also being the first ones into an indoor play area and having the ball pit and slides all to yourself – what joy – even if you are 60 years old!

slide fun
slide fun

This quote is just perfect:

Happiness is like rising bubbles — delightful and inevitably fleeting.

Joy is the oxygen — ever present.

Danielle LaPorte
Rainbows in a bubble

What do you think?

While some of these were happy moments, the feeling inside was purely joyful, so to answer my own question, I now know there is a difference between feeling joyful and being happy. You don’t have to be happy to feel joy either.

What’s joyful in your life at the moment? I always enjoy hearing from you 🙂

Just a few thoughts for a Monday! By the way my friend Sue at Women Living Well After 50 has done a post and podcast about finding your happiness triggers – it’s well worth a look/listen!

Deb xx

PS. As I write this I am with the Mathematician and my sister-in-law, at my MIL’s house, starting the process of cleaning out her property as she passed away in December last year. It’s a big job, and not a fun job, and we know we won’t get it all done this week, we will have many more trips. It’s also got some joyful moments, discovering her keepsakes and remembering her in so many ways.

Linking up with Denyse’s #lifethisweek and Becky’s #BrightSquare

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

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31 Replies to “Is there a difference between feeling joyful and plain old happiness? #lifethisweek”

  1. Hi Deb – thank you for the explanation of the difference between joy and happiness. I thought they were much the same but know differently now. Also all your examples of how you’ve felt joyful lately are gorgeous. I don’t have grandchildren (yet) but can imagine the joy they will bring me when I eventually get one/some! Hope you have a joyful week! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Deb, I have been off the grid the past while and I enjoy catching up reading. Especially nice to pick up on the topic of “joy.” I like the definition you found comparing “joy” and “happiness.” It is so much fun taking the little ones swimming. Most children love the water, especially warm water. Your photos of Autumn are stunning! I know I will absorb this topic over the next while. A great post! I especially love the photo of you with your granddaughter. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Erica, that photo of Emilia and I just makes my heart melt every time I see it, so I’m glad you also appreciated it. Maybe it’s our grandmotherly nature to see the beauty and joy in these types of moments. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with your thoughts on joy, Deb. I mentioned it on another blog but I see joy, happiness and contentment as a spectrum. Joy can be fleeting, momentary but at the other end contentment is that underlying satisfaction with life that remains…

    And yes, those Autumn colours are amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Deb, Your joyful moments are beautiful. I love the photo of you with your granddaughter. Spring where I live brings me many joyful moments, from seeing the pretty flowers to bird nesting, to being outdoors and enjoying nature. Have a wonderful week! #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Deb, I think I know what you mean. My mother-in-law is in the Palliative Care Ward and is coming to the end of her journey with cancer. She can still radiate joy despite the sadness we are all feeling. Her joy comes from having her family around her. We laugh and cry together so our emotions are all over the place but we still feel joy at being blessed with such a lovely person as our matriarch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Christina, I’m sorry to hear that sad news. You’ve often mentioned her and how much of a positive person she’s been with her attitude throughout her illness. Let there be joy for you all xx


  6. oh such wise thoughts and such joyful squares – love this post. Thank you so much for sharing, and for making me stop for a moment to reflect and ponder as I catch up with squares.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind Becky, and I’m glad if my post gave you pause for a few minutes to contemplate joy and what brings you that feeling. Squares have certainly added joy to my month, thanks to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Deb – I think joy comes from within and happiness is more circumstantial (just my 2c worth) That being said – grandbabies are absolute joy bringingers aren’t they? The look of love in Emilia’s eyes for her Granny Debs is just delightful and I imagine rocking a baby to sleep would be awesome (I miss the g/girls being babies!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree with your 2c worth Leanne 🙂 I love the look Emilia is giving me in this shot and today she told her mother that she ‘needs my Deb’ to come back and visit here! So sweet. I love the baby months for the snuggles.


  8. Lots of joyful moment which are lovely to read about Deb. We haven’t yet ventured out to the movies post Covid but I’d love to see Penguin Bloom. Your autumn colours are gorgeous. Today I’m feeling joyful about my day off. Planning time in the garden and on the bike

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can totally relate to those moments with the grandchildren that bring joy.
    Here in Canada where things are solidly in the third wave, a bit more challenging to find joy. Movie theatres closed for example. However the other day on our front lawn, in inner city Calgary, was a just born baby rabbit and its mother. The precious thing could barely walk. A flicker of joy and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you ‘get’ the moments of joy with grandchildren, as you are doing the same! I have heard Canada is struggling with this wave so hopefully things improve soon for you all. How awesome to have a baby rabbit born on the front lawn! A sign of hope and joy for sure 🙂


    1. Sorry to hear about your struggles with the day job Jo, hope they can be resolved quickly for you. That bubble quote really appealed to me so I’m glad it also hit the spot with you. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Deb, what a joy-filled and appreciative post. I loved seeing your granddaughter looking at you like that. Yes, joy is an inside job alright and you are pretty spot on with your examples. Those trees in Tumbarumba…woah!

    I understand this week (and beyond) will have many challenges as you pack up your MIL’s house. So much to be said isn’t there for taking time to cull but in a kind way over time.

    Thank you for sharing your post for Life This Week. I am always appreciative of the blogging community and you are one of those people in my blogging life. Next week, the optional prompt is Taking Stock. The new set of prompts is on my home page should you want to follow. Looking forward to see you again next week hopefully too. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your lovely comment Denyse, I just wanted to share some joy filled moments for your prompt and didn’t have to look far! I love here little face looking up at me – one for the memory jar 🙂

      Packing up the house is a slow and emotional process with lots of decisions to be made and I’m not able to help make some of them as items hold such personal family memories for my husband and his sister. I’m helping out by doing the running around, cooking and keeping their spirits up as much as I can. It will be months of visits before we can see any real progress.

      Thanks again for the linkup and prompts, I do enjoy writing to them and look forward to Taking Stock next week.

      Liked by 1 person

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