How would you like to be happier?
That’s like asking, “How would you like to be less thirsty?” or “How would you like to have more money?”
Everyone would be happy to be happier!
Harvard researchers have made some discoveries about happiness and you may be surprised how simple it is to be more happy!
Studies Show Gratitude Increases Happiness
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, have done a lot of research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative).
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, tested the impact of various assignments given to help the mood of 411 people. Those who wrote and personally delivered a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores.
This impact was greater than that from any other assignment, with benefits lasting for a month!(1)
I’ve asked all my friends to give thanks!
During the month of November, I have been teaching a series called, “Baskets of Blessings.” Each Sunday, we’ve been looking at the most amazing blessings God has given to us.
I’ve asked everyone to pause each day to give thanks to God and keep a daily list of their blessings. When people give thanks with others like their spouses, families, children, and friends it is even better!
How are you doing on your list? If you haven’t started or have fallen behind, start today! You’ll be glad you did!
True joy never comes to those who focus on their own happiness
We all seek a sense of well-being and happiness – even Christ-followers! We who have chosen to follow Christ can lose our joy, peace and purpose (John 15:10-11).
Happiness, it has been said, depends on “happenstance” or what happens. Christ wants His people to have deep joy that is not dependent upon our circumstances. True joy never comes to those who focus on their own happiness (Mt. 10:39)!
Each week, I’ll give you another amazing reason to be grateful to God, so bring a friend and help them find real happiness too!
Formula for JOY:
“Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son!”
(1) Harvard Mental Health Letter, “In Praise of Gratitude” (November 2011).