Prayer and Happiness

Happy Days

Would you say you’re pretty happy?

Research shows that only around 50% of Americans would answer yes. This was true in 1972, and the percentage has remained roughly the same since, despite dramatic increases in our average standard of living and gross domestic product per capita.  So, we make more money, we live more comfortably, we buy more stuff, but we don’t consider ourselves any happier than we were 40 years ago.

Why?

And furthermore, doesn’t 50% seem low to you? We’re not even asking for HAPPY-happy here, just “pretty happy,” and yet only half of the people surveyed said yes.

Maybe we’re looking for happiness in the wrong places.

I read a great commentary this week from the Denison Forum about what brings happiness (and what doesn’t).  In short, money, and especially buying stuff with money, do not:

Money doesn’t buy happiness. Neither does materialism: research shows that people who place a high value on wealth, status, and stuff are more depressed and anxious and less sociable than those who do not.

In fact, a new study in the journal Psychological Science concludes that the more people act like consumers, the less social and more negative they become.

Want to be happier? Focus instead on gratitude.  It’s free, and it’s easy. It can be as simple as keeping a journal of things you’re thankful for.  That one activity alone has been shown to improve physical, psychological, and social well-being.  Could it really be that easy? There’s one sure-fire way to find out.

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:15-20

Thoughtfully acknowledging the gifts that God has given you can change your life. There are other steps that you can take too. The tone is edgy but there are some great takeaways from this article Jacob Sokol of Sensophy.com on 12 Things Happy People Do Differently. Check it out!

[image: Happy Days, by Lisa Widerberg]

You can read more from Diane about acknowledging and using God's gifts in your life in Work, Love, Pray.