Joy – does the picture below express that to you? To me it does … pure unadulterated joy! Totally magical and amazing happiness!
When I first saw this photo of Princess P, taken by her grandfather, I thought to myself “a picture is worth a 1,000 words.”
And while that old adage, doesn’t really apply here because one word – joy – suffices, most pictures’ translations are in the eye of the beholder. So, if instead of this picture I used another, say of a group of people at the beach, each individual person viewing that picture would interpret it differently.
So, what do you think caused Princess P’s reaction?
- Getting her driver’s license?
- Graduating from high school?
- Graduating from college?
- Getting married?
She’s 5; she’s not yet old enough to have experienced any of these rites of passage. But, it is clear that her response is totally spontaneous and the moment random.
I read somewhere, or maybe it was a quote, that in order to appreciate the “highs” in life, you have to experience the “lows.” This picture suggests otherwise. Most 5-year-olds (at least in this country) haven’t experienced many sad times in life other than a scraped knee.
This is my great-niece, Princess P. In the spirit of full disclosure, this picture was taken by her grandfather, a professional photographer. He captured it on his iPhone. But, even a professional cannot capture the “feelings” expressed by a moment unless the emotions are real.
“Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love. Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”
Mother Teresa’s quote above, is also a FREE printable. My gift to you, a series of joy quotes! Click here to get this printable: Joy Mother Teresa Quote – FREE printable.
Can we be happy all the time?
Can we, humans, be happy all…the…time? I wrote the previous words that way, because I want you to say them that way. All…the…time. While I realize that it is unlikely that anyone get through this life unscathed, I’m now not convinced that we (humans) have to experience the lows to achieve the highs.
Do we need to have hard times in order to appreciate better ones?
Do we have to experience sadness in order to feel happiness?
Do we have to experience grief to appreciate life?
Do we have to experience discontent in order to be content?
As part of the learning process as we grow, we don’t really have a choice. Human evolution has hard-wired emotions into our DNA. But, I believe you choose to be happy. I believe every day you wake up, you make that choice.
“Completely and perfectly and incandescently happy.” – Jane Austen
My FREE printable gift to you! Click here to download this Jane Austen quote: Happy Jane Austen Quote – FREE printable.
Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion
The above is called Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion. Robert Pluchik was a psychologist, an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida and professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He died in 2006. I obtained his wheel from Wikipedia.
Per Wikipedia, “He suggested 8 primary bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. Additionally, his circumplex model makes connections between the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. Like colors, primary emotions can be expressed at different intensities and can mix with one another to form different emotions.” It’s interesting to me that “Joy” is the sunshine color of yellow.
“Joy” and the other seven emotions, in that level of his color wheel, are the basic “primary” emotions and the others fanning out (and inward) are secondary and tertiary emotions. The seventh postulate of Plutchik’s theory states that “Primary emotions are hypothetical constructs or idealized states whose properties and characteristics can only be inferred from various kinds of evidence.”
Using Plutchik’s theory, the emotion behind Princess P’s thought process resulting in the picture goes something like this: “it’s a great day! It’s sunny outside and I’m at the beach with my family, having a great time with my mom and sister. I get to play in the sand, build sand castles and run in the ocean! I’m happy!” Cue arms extended, face lifted skyward, jump up and twirl around.
Definition of Joy
How do you define joy? According to the dictionary, this way:
According to the definition of joy above, other words for joy are: jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss and more. In the case of this photo of Princess P in the sand on the beach, I think all the words for joy above apply.
“When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha
And, another FREE printable just to make sure you get lots of joy today! Click here to download this Buddha quote: Joy Buddha Quote – FREE printable.
Richard S. Lazarus was a psychologist as well as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He died in 2002. “Lazarus’ Theory” described by Wikipedia:
“Emotion is a disturbance that occurs in the following order: 1.) Cognitive appraisal—the individual assesses the event cognitively, which cues the emotion. 2.) Physiological changes—the cognitive reaction starts biological changes such as increased heart rate or pituitary adrenal response. 3.) Action—the individual feels the emotion and chooses how to react.”
So applying the Lazarus Theory to the Princess P picture goes like this: 1.) Princess P assesses the moment – her toes are in the sand, her family surrounds her, she has already run into the ocean chasing the waves – she’s happy. 2.) She’s breathless from running, giggling from shared good times and her heart rate amps up. 3.) Caught up in her happiness, she throws open her arms, lifts her face skyward, jumps for joy and twirls around.
B.F. Skinner’s statement
B. F. Skinner was a psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor and social philosopher, who died in 1990. The Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, he is considered the most influential psychologist of the 20th Century. One of the many profound things he said was, “When what a person does [is] attributed to what is going on inside him, investigation is brought to an end. Why explain the explanation?”
So, applying his statement to the Princess P photo requires no explanation. And, certainly not a thousand words.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats
My last gift to you today; click here to get your FREE John Keats printable: Joy John Keats Quote – FREE printable.
The Secret of Joy
So, what’s the secret of Joy and capturing that emotion at any time? Look around you, take it all in, give thanks for the things around you (people, nature, scenery, events) and savor that moment and feeling. Let it envelop you and choose to be happy. Joy follows. Take it. Own it. Treasure it. Repeat.
Share my FREE printables on social media. Pin to your Pinterest boards, your Facebook wall or Tweet them. Choose to spread joy and happiness today.
One last thing: looking for ways to spread Joy around your house? I’ve curated a collection of inspirational wall stickers and murals, posters and prints, plaques, signs and books just for you (this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.):
P.S. So what made this picture happen? Princess P was just enjoying the day at the beach with her family. No big deal.
(other posts about happiness)