No, we're not going to tell you to start a gratitude journal. Close your eyes and picture it for a moment: pure joy. It could be sitting in the sun on a warm day, basking in the knowledge that your grown kids are on their way to visit. Or, it could be just the opposite: Finally, a moment of peace and quiet in the house after a chaotic week.

Joy can seem fleeting — rare, even — but there are ways to get closer to joy on a daily basis. Lots of people confuse joy with happiness, and although they are closely related and often occur simultaneously, these feel-good emotions aren't synonymous.

Happiness is an emotion that brings bursts of intense pleasure, excitement, and satisfaction, while joyfulness is a stronger, longer-term state that results in feelings of inner peace and contentment.

"Whereas happiness can be easily manufactured, joy comes through setting up the right conditions for it to suddenly appear," says clinical psychologist Forrest Talley. "Happiness can be brought about by a good cup of coffee in the morning or a funny movie. Joy, on the other hand, is more difficult to cultivate."

It's an ongoing process that takes time. And yet, it's worth it because of all the health benefits you get along the way. "Numerous studies suggest happiness and joy predict lower heart rate and blood pressure, as well as stronger immune systems," says Susan Damico, director at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. "Additionally, individuals who report having more positive emotions also have fewer illnesses, including minor aches and pains."

Finding joy also leads to longer life spans, Talley says. Research published in Journal of Happiness Studies found that happier individuals tended to live longer in 53% of the cases. Below, you'll find expert — and science-backed ways to add more joy to your life — starting now:

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