Of all the emotions we can feel, the one we all look forward to is joy. It is a fundamental emotion, presence not only generates pleasure but also seems to make our lives easier in all aspects and areas and also generally means that everything or at least something that matters and turns us on is working the way we would like it to.
But the truth is, we don’t always feel joy for the same things or in the same way, or sometimes it can be superficial or overt although it is nonexistent, or even a symptom that something is not working properly. that’s why we can talk about different types of joy, Which we will see throughout this article.
What is joy?
Joy is one of the fundamental and most important human emotions, Also being one of the most rewarding and appetizing. It is a sensation that is linked to the existence of a series of physiological activations and effects (including an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate and the secretion of hormones and endorphins) and usually occurs from an experience (whether internal or internal) which the subject values at the cognitive level as favorable.
It usually generates typical behavioral manifestations such as smiling (Being sincere joy is the only emotion that in this act generates the activation of certain eye muscles), or laughter. It usually seems associated and is one of the fundamental parts of the concepts we call happiness, fullness, or well-being.
Regardless of the well-being it generates, joy is a deeply adaptive emotion: it facilitates exploration and contact with others and the environment, as well as the stimulation of creativity and mental flexibility. It has been observed that this speeds up the processing of information and facilitates the search for new and more efficient methodologies.
It facilitates socialization and community life and also promotes the repetition of the behaviors that generated this sensation. Likewise, joy promotes the observation of all the information more than each of the elements that are part of the situation, which in turn can cause you to lose attention to detail and even more risk in taking action.
In fact, it has been observed that feeling joy is positive for health, as it improves our immune system, is linked to better cardiac recovery after coronary events and improves the prognosis of the subject in the face of a large number of disorders, illnesses and injuries. It also decreases or neutralizes the reactions inherent to negative emotions, such as anxiety or sadness.
Different types of joy
Most people and in general we generally think of joy as a single, unitary concept, it is not uncommon for us to stop and talk about the possible existence of this type of joy. However, it is possible to make a brief classification according to its relevance to the lived situation or even to the level of realism with which it is experienced.
1. Genuine joy
By genuine or felt joy, we mean that kind of joy that is truly felt by those who claim to be doing it, and there is a positive state of mind in which physiological activation and arousal and a feeling of happiness, a desire for ‘experiment appear. And well-being. This sensation arises naturally and is commonly expressed outwardly, Be the product of a situation or an achievement judged positive by the subject.
2. Hilarious joy
Hilarious joy is that which arises as a result of a sense of humor or physiological reactions that do not necessarily appear in a situation of happiness and well-being but after the capture and processing of stimuli or generally unexpected situations that we find funny. It is one of the most common types of joy.
3. Derived from hedonia
Joy can have several origins and participates in phenomena as relevant as the perception of happiness. In this regard, you can become happy and experience joy according to different aspects. One of them derives from the experience of pleasure, obtained by the satisfaction of the most basic needs and desires of the person, as well as by the avoidance of what generates discomfort.
4. Derived from eudaimonia
Along with hedonism, another cause of happiness and joy that is usually a part of it is what is called eudaimonia: in this case you experience the well-being and joy derived from working in personal development and the pursuit of objectives and goals. It is the joy that comes from self-realization.
We understand by feigned joy this set of samples of a positive, expansive and even joyful mood that it is done intentionally and without there really being an emotionality that justifies them, this joy being a falsification generated for some sort of goal. So we are in fact in front of someone who does not really feel joy. To recognize it, it is more effective to look for discrepancies between the gestures of the mouth and those of the eyes while smiling.
It is a type of joy very similar to feint and actually could be considered a subtype of it, cynical joy is that joy manifesting as a mask or defense mechanism in order to avoid showing another emotion, Usually negative.
7. Pathological: manic and hypomanic states
It is likely that in general, whenever we imagine the presence of joy, we do so in a context where it is positive, improves our mood and facilitates our well-being, usually being caused by some beneficial event that makes us feel good. arise this emotion.
However, it is also possible to find people who experience a type of joy which is not normative but pathological, which escapes the control of the situation and who it can overflow and become unsuitable and even dangerous.
This is what happens in certain pathologies such as manic episodes of bipolar disorder, certain cases of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders or after intoxication by a substance. More than genuine joy, we would speak of euphoric situations, in which expansiveness, drowsiness and increased speed of thought arise. In these circumstances, it is possible to lose control of the situation and suffer from a decrease in the capacity for judgment and risk analysis, to the point where delusions of grandeur, irritability and hostility towards others may even arise.
It is understood as such a type of joy which is considered as pathological because this emotion appears is a situation which does not correspond to something which generates joy in the subject or which appears at a time or in front of a situation which should not not generate it (it is not necessarily that it occurs in a situation in which it is considered socially inappropriate, that too, but that even the emotion of joy arises even though what happened may in fact be sad for the subject himself) or in which the physiological expression does not accompany the emotion felt.
9. He is dead: empty joy
Another type of joy, found in people with brain damage, brain tumors, cognitive impairment or dementia, among others, is death. It is understood as such a positive and expansive mood but empty of content, Which appears for no reason for this joy. It is common for people with this symptom to exhibit a desire to joke, eccentric behavior, and extreme joviality regardless of the context.
- Segarra Echebarría, R. and Eguiluz Uruchurtu, I. (2013). Introduction to psychopathology. Pan American Medical Editorial. Chapter 8.
- Ekman, P. and Friesen, W. (1969). The repertoire of non-verbal behaviors: categories, origins, usage and coding. Semiotics, 1, pages 49-98.