What do we mean by joy? Is there more to it than fleeting sensations of pleasure or wellbeing? In this series of articles, our four writers and one comic artist examine this elusive emotion by exploring different aspects of joy. Through behavioural studies of animals and humans, scientists are discovering the value and benefits of positive emotions. And it’s not just in our minds that we experience joy. It’s manifest in our facial expressions and in our bodies when we literally dance for joy, helping us to connect and bond with one another. For many religious people, seeking spiritual joy, especially in difficult times, is a way to build resilience. And nature, too, can lift your spirits in unexpected moments of joy.
Spiritual joy can be a source of strength. Like the optimistic Pollyanna, there’s a lot to be said for finding reasons to rejoice, even in adversity.
Dancing is a mood enhancer, it increases social bonding and it improves creativity. Maybe you really can dance all your troubles away.
- In pictures
Does everyone express joy in the same way and can you always recognise it? Find out the conclusions drawn by artists, philosophers and scientists who have studied the way humans express emotion.
About the contributors
Jem is a visual and movement artist based in Leeds. She is passionate about dance and art as a means to communicate and connect with others. As a disabled artist she is particularly keen to embrace and promote diversity and inclusion throughout her work, in all processes and product. She is currently an associate artist with the Tetley Art Gallery and works at Northern Ballet supporting the Academy and the delivery of Ability, a weekly training course for adults with learning disabilities, in the Learning team.