We live in a culture of people who are constantly seeking happiness. If we don’t know how to achieve this goal of joy, we search in any way we can…money, affirmation, social status, alcohol, drugs, fame, and so much more. This concept of “true happiness” has always been so interesting to me, as all of us at some point feel depressed, unsatisfied, or unfulfilled by the lives we lead. I have found that we are a culture and generation that struggles with contentment.
My curiosity lead me to watching a documentary tonight titled “Happy.” This fascinating documentary was filled with statistics, scientific studies, and stories of different people from all different cultures who have found happiness and contentment in their lives.
Studies have shown that 50% of our happiness is genetic. It is how we were designed and what is in us already with no work being done. 40% is based on what we do to change it. Effort, trying, not just settling and being bitter or giving up. Amazingly enough, only 10% of our happiness comes from income, money, and status. Isn’t that incredible? Looking around at the continued people who “had it all”, the fame & fortune with no happiness, we need to finally learn that money isn’t the key element.
Do you want to be happy this week? Content? Filled with joy? Me too. Check out these 5 scientifically proven ways to be happier.
The man in the photo above lives in a slum in India. He runs and pulls people around (imagine a horse and buggy, and he is the horse). He says that sometimes he is abused or mocked, but he is so thankful that he is able to provide for his family.
This amazing man smiled and said, “When I work, even if my clothes get soaked with rain, I am happy because I know they will dry as I run carrying the passenger.” Did you read that? He is pulling people, getting rained on, yet he is joyful because he has found the silver lining.
Happiness comes from us focusing on what is good. Thankfulness. Optimism. Positivity.
2. Serving others.
Doing things for others has been prroven to increase our happiness. Think about the Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” His heart grew when he became selfless. By loving others, he also became happier. Volunteering and giving generously can actually bring us joy!
3. Physical activity
After our teen years, our brains slowly lose dopamine. Like many things, it’s use it or lose it. Its like a muscle. Physical activity is proven to increase dopamine, especially when done in fun, group, novel ways. My friends and I did a graffiti run earlier this year and it was ridiculous fun! There is a photo below of a gorilla run in San Francisco. Change it up! Exercise! Have fun!
4. Experiencing flow.
This means finding joy in the ordinary day. In your job. Going with the flow.
It has been proven that people who experience flow on a regular basis are happier than people who don’t. The man in the photo below is a cook at a diner who makes minimum wage. He is so happy because he is doing what he loves, and he enjoys the fast paced flow of his work environment. He takes each day as it comes, and even finds joy in the flow of a “mundane” day.
Psalms 89:15 tells us:
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.”
When we worship God, we find joy because we actually become closer to Him and are telling God that we want nothing more than to be in His presence. Finding time for worship has been crucial for me to live a happy life. Make time to praise Him this week, and remember that anywhere can be your place of worship. It will be unique to each of us. It might be through song, dance, prayer, quiet time, reading your bible, struggle, driving, working, anything. No area of your life is unsuitable for God’s presence to intervene.
My hope and prayer for you this week is happiness, joy, and contentment. Challenge yourself to try these 5 tips, and find joy in every aspect of your life.