“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
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.