Who doesn’t want to live a satisfying life? Humans are complex and travel many different paths in life, but everyone is looking for meaning and purpose. We spend most of our time pursuing those things that make us happy. After all we’re Americans and isn’t that what Americans do? The Declaration of Independence gives full support to our desire to be happy.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I found two internet articles on the subject of long-term happiness and the sense of well-being, which represent two sides of the same coin. The first article from the August 12, 2015 edition of The Week Magazine is entitled The Key to Sustained Happiness is Religion. Researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied various social activities that people chose to pursue. They also looked at organizations that people join. Politics, Community Involvement, Charities, Education, and Religion were the areas that received the greatest scrutiny.
The researchers discovered that every area they studied except religion led to decreased happiness over time. Only participation in a religious organization boosted happiness in the long run. The researchers said that they were puzzled by their discovery.
The second article written by Scott Barry Kaufman on August 2, 2015 on the Scientific American Blog asks What Character Strengths are Most Predictive of Well-Being? 517 people ranging in age from 18-71 were studied to determine their positive strengths. The goal was to use this information in psychology to not just treat mental illness but to encourage people to focus on those positive strengths. Google: Scientific American Well Being for article.
The characteristics that rose to the top in people who experienced well-being were: Gratitude, Love, Honesty, and Hope. I see a strong connection between participation in a religious organization and those characteristics. Believing in God and studying His Word with a group of like-minded believers will make us more thankful and honest. Stretching our faith muscles will develop a mindset of love and hope.
Jesus also talked about a full and satisfying life as recorded in the Bible in John 10:10.
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
Pursue happiness and a sense of well-being by investing your life in serving God and serving others. And I would love to hear from you.
What makes you happy?