What is Psychology of Joy?
As defined by Myers (2007), psychologists consider that happiness or joy is a state characterized by predominance of positive energy. In Subjective Well Being (SWB), a science of categorizing people in accordance of their emotions and approach towards life, happiness is the state in which people are contented with what they have. Talking in psychological context, Myers emphasizes that when a person is happy, he/she radiates positive energy. In such a state, all stressors are inactive. The American Psychological Association has declared happiness or joy as the ground of positive psychology. All the aspects of positive psychology are directly associated with whether the person is happy or what are the ways through which a person can find joy in mundane.
States of Happiness
Psychologist Kahneman (2005), in a research study, stated that there are various components and psychological states of a person that decide the effect of happiness. In every state, a person thinks from different perspectives and experiences different levels of energy. It is mentioned in the study that the fact that energy of a happy mind is different from the energy of a stressed mind is not given considerable importance in clinical psychiatry, but a number of psychological disorders can be resolved by understanding the influence of mind frequency on the cognitive behavior. The study also highlights the fact that states of happiness depend on the personal preferences and expectations of a person.
Here is a quick look at both of the states of Happiness as elaborated by Kahneman and Riis (2005):
Long-term happiness refers to the state in which a person starts finding satisfaction in ordinary things, as a result of the pleasant impact of some prior incident. However, the impact of any pleasant or unpleasant incident depends on the psychological state of a person. If the person is already depressed then he/she might envision the life in a different way than a person who is not going through any mental trauma. This does not mean that a depressed person cannot seek happiness from a pleasant incident, but for obvious reasons the level of happiness will be lesser than the person who is not depressed.
As the name implies, this is the state of happiness in which a person experiences momentarily surges of positive emotions. Kahneman suggests that a number of people think that the person going through monetarily joy might relapse back into the state of depression, which is not true. It only means that this state or level of happiness does not have as intense an impact as long-term happiness. In order psychology, the graph for momentarily happiness is represented by spikes, which means that the positive energy level quickly goes back to the normal state.
Determination of Human Behavior through Happiness Level
According to Haidt (2006), happiness is directly linked with the mental stability and decision making abilities of a person. Haidt, in the book quotes the fact that person with high satisfaction level responds quickly to situations. Depression is defined as the state of mind which occurs due to unaddressed negative emotions. Joy, on the other hand, allows a person to recover from mental traumas by suppressing stressors. The study also highlights the fact that there are a number of variables that decide the ability of a person to find joy in mundane. Some of them are:
Age- The study of Haidt concluded that as the age of a person progresses, his/her expectations from life change and the chances of finding satisfaction in ordinary life becomes less.
Lifestyle- According to Myer, the lifestyle of people decide their ability of finding happiness in small things. For example, a poor person will find satisfaction in wealth.
Can Therapies Help Find Joy in the Mundane?
As clinical psychology has associated happiness with mental stability, psychologists suggest that therapies and counseling can help a person stay happy (Gewaltig et al., 2007). As therapies can enhance self-control, they can help suppress negative stressors. Moreover, medical aid and counseling can help a person avoid psychological disorder associated with chronic stress. Counseling with an expert psychiatrist can also change the approach of a person towards life (Holmes, 2006).
Gewaltig M. and Diesmann M. (2007) NEST (NEural Simulation Tool). Scholarpedia, 2(4):1430.
Holmes P. and Shea-Brown E T. (2006) Stability. Scholarpedia, 1(10):1838.
Kahneman D. & Riis J. (2005). Living and Thinking about It: Two Perspectives on Life.
Myers D. (2007). Psychology of Happiness. Hope College. Holland.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.