I’ll be preaching on Luke 6:12-26 at Grace on Jan. 27. So I’ve been thinking about happiness, the word we usually translate as “blessed.” I did some research to see what people think will make them happy. The self-help people find happiness inside. So if slim down, bulk up, do some therapy, treat yourself to some new things, and such. The problem is that it doesn’t work. In fact, it seems that people who focus on themselves are among the unhappiest people. They seem ever more dissatisfied with everything.

On the other hand, the science of happiness has turned up some not so amazing results: Happiness is correlated with autonomy (feeling that your activities are self-chosen and self-endorsed), competence (feeling that you are effective in your activities), relatedness (feeling a sense of closeness with others) and self-esteem.

Gratitude has a lot to do with life satisfaction, psychologists say. Talking and writing about what they’re grateful for amplifies adults’ happiness, new studies show. Other researchers have found that learning to savor even small pleasures has the same effect. And forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, says University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson. “It’s the queen of all virtues, and probably the hardest to come by,” he adds.

The single most impacting factor is the quantity and quality of relationships. The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have. Those relationships are places where giving becomes central. So simple living is positive and commercialism and materialism is toxic to happiness. A good declaration would be ‘more fun, less stuff.’ Give it away for the fun of it! 

If you want a really intriguing exploration, have a look at University of Leicester Produces the first ever World Map of Happiness. #1 is Denmark, #23 is USA, #62 is France, #82 is China, #125 is India, #167 Russia, and #177 and 178 are Zimbabwe and Burundi at the bottom.

In my case, happiness has been eroded by getting schedule mixed up so instead of teaching my first Perspectives on the world Christian Movement, I’m at home. It is actually next Thursday. The problem is that Sherry had bought me tickets to RiverDance to celebrate my birthday for next Thursday. So now I have to see what we can do to change tickets.


4 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. Happiness is a state of mind that really depends how we see the situations in our lives each day. you can have all the riches in the world but still see it as a lonely place..,:

  2. Thank you, Traci. You are so very kind. Unfortunately, I’m teaching another Perspectives class in Spokane on Tuesday and I don’t get back until Wednesday morning. Because of other classes I’m doing, the only other day we can go would be Wednesday. Sherry is investigating the ticket exchange sites. She and I shared sadness last night because so so wanted to do something really nice for me and then I blew it because of not getting the changed schedule into my calendar.

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