Saturday, May 1, 2021

Word of the Year: Joy 5: The Science of Joy, Interrupted

Flower yellow and blue, Lafayette, Louisiana. January 2014.
Flower yellow and blue, Lafayette, Louisiana. January 2014.

 

 

I'm glad some folks study joy. 

I started to write this post on what science has to say on joy. 

But I got bogged down in my hunt for interesting research on joy.

In fact, the exercise became joyless

So, I say, fuck it. 

Which brings me a nano-flare of joy right there.

To fan that tiny flame, I'm just going to take a moment here ...................... and muster up some joy ........... by looking at the greenery outside my window and listening to the chatty birds outside. 

There we go now. 

So as not to let my preliminary efforts go to waste, read on if you wish:

From Grotto Network (a Catholic medium designed for Catholic millennials): How to Find Joy According to Science:

"The American Psychological Association (APA) defines joy as 'a feeling of extreme gladness, delight, or exaltation of the spirit arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction.'”

 

From the charming Badges For All: The Science of Joy and Happiness (for a Joy Seeker badge!)

 ... which applies a definition of joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee: "[Joy is an] 'intense, momentary experience of positive emotion.'"

 

In her 2017 abstract, Refining Research on Joy, Dr. Lynn Underwood proposed how scientists might refine the terms they use in reference to joy. An excerpt: 

To find out about joy using the tools of scientific research we must identify what
connects joy of all kinds for many people, something that comes under the wide umbrella of
joy, in order to find some common features .....The kinds of joy that happen
together with sorrow differ from unmixed joy. Variations in intensity may describe joy of
very different kinds. Quiet joy that looks more like deep contentment might be very different
from ecstatic joy. Joy that occurs with others, either with other people or a divine other, may seem quite distinct. ... And each of us is temperamentally different. Some of us
experience the most profound joy in solitude, some of us when with others. Some of us find
frequent calm joy, others have frequent highs in experiences of joy. For some joy is
inextricably linked to a sense of the transcendent, for others there is no awareness of
transcendence in their experiences. The words used to tap into this need to give space for all of these kinds of joy.