Both Joy and Happiness are emotions where a person has feelings of contentment or satisfaction. But both these feelings may differ from each other based on the reasons causing the feeling and the nature of the feeling. J.D. Salinger once said "The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid."
edit Differences in Meaning
- the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation: She felt the joy of seeing her son's success.
- a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
- the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
- a state of happiness or felicity.
- the quality or state of being happy.
- good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.
Happiness may be caused by luck, good fortune or other person-centric pleasures. Joy is caused by elation at a moment in time. Joy may not always be about oneself but be about others' contentment also. Happiness is about the self's pleasure. Happiness may dwell on materialistic, worldly pleasure while Joy is derived from soul satisfying, emotional well being. While happiness comes from outside things, joy is about inner self. To quote an example here: If one wins a lottery of $10,000, they would be very happy but if that person works hard and sets up his business and earns $10,000, he would feel Joy. Though the ultimate benefit is the same, the cause being different makes the final emotion different.
edit Differences in Timeframe
Happiness may be momentary and may not last for a long time. This is because happiness is caused by reasons that may not influence long term contentment. Joy, on the other hand is more related to the inner self and may last for a longer period of time. When one feels happy, then he's happy for sometime over that subject, but when one is overjoyed by something then that feeling lasts to content him for sometime. An example to clarify this can be: A person eats a good meal at a restaurant and likes it, he is happy about it. But he will forget about it later.
But when one makes that meal themselves for the first time and likes it, then it is joyous. This joyful feeling will be remembered by that person for a long time.
Joy warms a person's heart while happiness merely pleases. This is also because of the difference in the reasons behind the two feelings. Happiness brings pleasure but Joy brings true contentment to one's heart.
edit Examples of happiness vs joy
Winning a lottery brings Happiness to a person. Giving birth to a child will bring joy to a person.
edit Antonyms of happiness and joy
One way to understand the difference between joy and happiness is to look at the opposites of the two feelings. The opposite of joy is fear while the opposite of happiness is unhappiness and misery.
Some moments capturing the simple joys and happiness that life has to offer..
A happy couple on their wedding day