About Happiness

“Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Laughing Jesus
Some interesting facts about happiness from WebMD:
1. We are not hardwired to be either naturally happy or not, regardless of what happens in our lives. In other words, you can change your happiness index!
2. The happiest country: A study in 2012 found that Denmark was at the top in life satisfaction and work-life balance, and 17th in income. By comparison, the United States ranks No. 1 in income but ranked 12th in life satisfaction and 29th in work-life balance.
3. Gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy: Research shows that happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

4. The happiest states in the U.S.A. are Southern states, according to a 2009 study. Of them, Louisiana ranks No. 1 in happiness. Maybe it’s not an accident that Louisiana also ranks No. 1 in pro-life.
5. The unhappiest states in the U.S.A. are:

  • Eastern states like New York rank at the bottom.
  • California also ranks low in the happiness scale, at No. 46.

6. Older people are happier: People are happier, less stressed, and feel better about themselves after age 50. A recent survey of more than 340,000 people showed overall feelings of well-being improve as people pass middle age. Negative emotions such as stress and anger decline after the early 20s, and people over 50 worry less than younger folks. Researchers say it may be as simple as this: With age comes increased wisdom and emotional intelligence.
7. “Feel good” chemicals: In terms of happiness, a boost in your mood is linked to the release of serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin hormones. Tryptophan helps your body make serotonin, so it’s linked to feeling good as well.
8. Music makes us happy: A study found that when people listened to music, their brains released more dopamine, a feel-good chemical that’s involved in pleasure. In fact, even just thinking about listening to music caused the dopamine to start flowing. The researchers think this might explain why music has been such a big part of human history.
9. Being happy doesn’t mean you never feel sad: “Happiness is not the absence of sadness,” says David Spiegel, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. It is not a stiff upper lip or always being upbeat no matter what, which is a phony kind of pseudo-happiness. By suppressing sadness, you suppress other, more positive emotions, as well. In fact, people who try to suppress emotions actually become more anxious and depressed.
10. A cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22): Some studies have found that laughter may boost infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells in the body. In a study of the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas, scientists at the University of Maryland found that those who watched dramas tended to tense up, restricting blood flow, whereas people who watched comedies had normal blood flow.
~Éowyn

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0 responses to “About Happiness

  1. Priscilla Anderson

    How can I get this picture to frame ??

     
  2. Great post, Dr. Eowyn.
    Thankfulness is the will of God for us. We are to be thankful when we don’t feel it. It is a life transforming choice, and could free many people from depression.

     
  3. JOY and Passion are what we have every day… if we will but choose it

     
  4. And knowing the Lord is our King of Glory keeps us free from fear, and always knowing HE is in charge, this alone makes me happy…

     
  5. Very astute on the happiness in states. I spent several years in Ca. And so many were busy trying to be or look like someone they weren’t they never stopped and appreciated what they already had.
    I also, spent 3 months in New Jersey recently and I never saw so many unhappy and rude people in my life. And their driving manners leaves a lot to be desired. I found several areas down right scary. I am sure there must be good people there, there has to be with all the numbers.
    I also lived and stayed in several southern states and the people are happier and more satisfied with their lives. They have a deep connection to God and their church and family.
    We found the same in Italy, their family, food, church and wine were their lives. They didn’t spend a lot of time of watching TV and spent the evenings out walking and people watching and finding the best Italian ice cream store.
    Funny, how that all works out.
    Maybe we need to spend more time doing what happy people do.

     
  6. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this fascinating post.
    I believe that the Southern states are the happiest because of their strong outwardly expressed beliefs in Our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the things Southerners say is, “Have a blessed day,” or “Bless your heart.” We love Jesus here! There are crosses in restaurants.
    I have also found that happiness and a sense of humor can co-exist with suffering: “Take up your cross and follow me,” is what Jesus told us to do.
    When I went to the Sacrament of Confession in September of 2006, the priest told me something very important: 1) Thank God in all things and situations; 2) Praise God in all things and situations; 3) Live in the mystery of His cross; and, 4) Live in the present.
    I hope everyone has a blessed day!

     
    • Dear Joan:
      When I read St Augustine in my philosophy and ethics classes, I was struck by his insight concerning how humans observe time in all its aspects, and your anecdote made me recall that passage.
      He wrote that we see a past, present, and future, and we must distinguish them carefully. For we speak of the past as though it were in some ways still with us, but it is not and cannot be: it had being but no longer does. And while we constantly worry and fret for the future, this is foolish, for it has yet to come into being, and we have no foreknowledge of it.
      So what we truly have is the present –our only reality– which is the future springing into existence, and then equally quickly departing into our past. Therefore we must live fully in the present, our only reality, regard the past for what it taught us, and know the future is God’s dispensation for us. Live earnestly in our present, for it is God’s unceasing gift to us all.

       
      • Dear Joseph 69:
        Thank you so much for your excellent analysis of the different aspects of time and relevant implications. I agree with your conclusions.
        Our Dear Lord admonished us not to worry about the past or the future, because it accomplishes nothing that cannot otherwise be achieved by our Trust in God. He even said that the “troubles of the day are enough.”

         

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