I had to laugh when I read this USA Today newspaper headline: “Psychologists now know what makes people happy.” I didn’t know happiness was a secret to be discovered by my noble profession! Curious, I kept reading. Here is what psychologists found to be true about happiness:
- The happiest people are those who spend the least time alone and pursue intimacy and personal growth.
- Happy people don’t judge themselves by what others do or have.
- Materialism is toxic for happiness.
- Optimism is important, even in dark times.
- Actions matter. It’s not just what you believe or your outlook on life that contributes to happiness.
- People who give to others and aren’t self-absorbed are more satisfied with life.
- Happy people know their strengths and use them.
- People who feel gratitude are happy.
- The strongest link to happiness is a willingness to forgive others.
Happiness is unrelated to events, money, power, fame or anything else our culture associates it with.
Happiness is a choice, as the Scriptures declare: “Happy are the people who are in such a state. Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 144:15).