Summary: Recent scientific research has confirmed what God has always taught on what truly makes us happy. We explore four keys to greater happiness.
The Secret To Being Happier Every Day
When reading the September 2008 edition of Parade Magazine, I came across a short article entitled “The Secret to Being Happier Every Day.” Written by Allison Takeda, the article presents the results of recent scientific studies that explored what things truly provide satisfaction in life.
The article’s opening paragraph reads: “Think you know what will make you happy? Recent studies may surprise you. Reasearchers have found that individual happiness levels don’t correlate with money, success - even good health. Here’s what does matter.”
The article proceeds to give four secrets to happiness. As I read about the four secrets, I was not surprised. You see, what was learned in the recent scientific studies had already been revealed and taught by Jesus and His Apostles some 2,000 years ago. The researchers are only confirming the wisdom found in the Scriptures.
Let’s look at these so-called “secrets” -
1. Being Thankful.
“According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside, people who make a conscious effort to count their blessings on a regular basis show marked improvement in their overall satisfaction with life.”
People who make an effort to see the positive things in their lives are going to be much happier. People who make an effort to dwell upon the blessings that they enjoy each day and have a grateful heart have the sunniest dispositions.
For the Christian, it is easier to be thankful because we know that what we have in this life comes from a God Who chooses to bless us. What we have is not a matter of luck, blind chance or accident. What comes into our lives comes to us from Someone Who has our best interest at heart and is daily demonstrating His goodness and lovingkindness toward us.
James 1:17, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Every day and in every situation we can and should find something that we can thank God for. Even in difficult times, which are often sent for our spiritual betterment, we can find reason to be thankful. For, He is near and He will never forsake us.
If you want to be happy in life, don’t allow yourself to get into the habit of always grumbling and complaining about your life. Psalms 136:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalms 97:12, “Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones; And give thanks to His holy name.”
2. Do Unto Others.
“Want to feel good? Then do good. Donate blood, carry someone’s groceries to the car, or take a cup of soup to an ailing loved one. Little acts of kindness aren’t just beneficial for the person on the receiving end. They also provide a boost for you, the doer. Studies show that performing five good deeds a week can significantly elevate your mood.”
Jesus is the first Person Who actually taught the principle that doing good to others is actually good for ourselves. Paul, says in Acts 20:35, "remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"
Selfish people are the most miserable people on Earth. People who only think about what they can get from other people and what other people can do for them are the most sad and depressing people that you can meet. Self-centered people are not happy people. As strange as it might sound, those who think about how they might help make others happy and promote the interests of others are the happiest folks you’ll ever know. No wonder we are taught, in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Those who have the richest lives are those whose lives are rich in good works for others.
3. Get Involved With Others.
“It’s tempting, when things aren’t going well, to shut out the world and sulk in solitude. But that’s a mistake. Two of the top five factors in determining happiness are family relationships and community, says Richard Layard, author of Happiness: Lessons From a New Science. Investing in others, and having them invest in you, gives your life purpose. It also ensures that you won’t sit at home every night wallowing in self-pity. So put yourself out there.”
Having a social network with people you care about and with those who care about us is very important in producing happiness. God designed our families to be such a social network but the truth is that not everybody comes from families who are caring and supportive. Not every family is closely knit.