Thursday, April 3, 2008

En-Joying Life

Taken from From the Wall Street Journal

Despite the sharp rise in our standard of living in recent decades, Americans today are little or no happier than earlier generations. Why not?

Americans are no happier today than they were 30 years ago. Why? How would you rate your happiness level right now? There are various reasons we feel sad, mad or glad.
Feeling unpleasant. Think of happiness as having three components. First, there's our basic disposition -- whether we are, by nature, a happy person or not. Clearly, there isn't a whole lot we can do about this.
Second, there are your life's circumstances, such as age, health, marital status and income. Often, this stuff isn't nearly as important as folks imagine. If my income doubled, I would initially be delighted. But research suggests we would quickly get used to all that extra money.
Third, how you spend your time -- something you have a fair amount of control over. This is the subject of a major new study by academics Daniel Kahneman, Alan Krueger, David Schkade, Norbert Schwarz and Arthur Stone. The people were asked to rate three episodes based on feelings such as pain, happiness, stress and sadness. All this was used to calculate what percentage of time people spent in an unpleasant state.


Women, folks under age 65, those divorced or separated, lower-income earners and the less educated were likely to spend a bigger chunk of their day in an unpleasant state.

The standout cluster of positive feelings were associated with what the authors label as "engaging leisure and spiritual activities." Things like visiting friends, exercising, attending church, listening to music, fishing, reading a book, sitting in a cafe or going to a party. When we spend time on our favorite of these activities, we're typically happy, engrossed and not especially stressed.

Find your passion, calling and gifting and do it. That sounds positively biblical. This is another reason why Seasoned Believers need to find a ministry that will allow them to be actively involved in positive, self chosen activities.

Get out and do something with friends or for someone and you will be blessed. Just as the Bible says: "It is more blessed to give than it is to receive."

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