Happiness and Healing
Happiness and Healing | June 12, 2010 | Order Info
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:2-18; Psalm 27; Psalm 42; Luke 8:14; 10:38-42; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16,17.
On a scale of 1-10 with the number 10 extremely happy and 1 extremely unhappy, how happy are you right this minute? What are the triggers in life that cause you to be happy or unhappy?
In his blog this week, Dr. Greg Nelson, shares this reflection on things he once felt would contribute to his happiness: “I remember some years ago living up in the Puget Sound and standing on the shore looking longingly out at the sailboats. How I wished I could be out there! If I could just have a boat to sail on, I’d be happy! And then I got one. Fun and happiness had at last arrived.
“And then I was sailing up one of the channels in the Sound on a beautiful day. And suddenly, as I looked at the beautiful houses nestled up to the shore, I caught myself thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a house right on the edge of the water and have such beautiful, inspirational views every day! If I could just be in one of those homes on the Sound I would be happy!’
“And it hit me—the hedonic treadmill—I had achieved one of my happiness goals and was still wanting more. My expectations had risen at the same pace as my increased possessions. When would there ever be enough? Could I ever outpace my happiness treadmill? Could I ever come to the point where I actually said, ‘Okay, now I have everything I need to be completely and absolutely happy. From here on out, my life will always have happiness.’” 1
Many of us suffer from the “if onlys”. If only I could go here, be this, change that, obtain more, I would be much happier. If you have a Facebook page you might have had a friend this week who posted this sentence on your wall: “I feel sad today please LIKE me to make me happy”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if only just clicking the LIKE option we could make a friend happy? Unfortunately it is not that easy.
Dr. Martin Seligman is a psychologist who is credited with starting the field of Positive Psychology when he became the president of the American Psychological Association in 1998. Seligman wanted to find out what makes people happy. As a researcher he was curious to discover what role positive emotions rather than negative emotions play in a human’s sense of well being.
Seligman felt that psychologists had focused too much on what ailed the mind. Rather than dwelling on what makes one angry, stressed, depressed or sad, Seligman’s research focused on a trait called optimism, the tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view in life. He found that optimism was associated with good physical health, less depression, less mental illness, longer life and happiness. 2
Long before there was a science of happiness or a field of positive psychology, we were given words full of hope and ways to stay optimistic about our future. In a time in earth’s history when there are more than enough negative messages surrounding us we need to trust in God and cling to the promises in Scripture regardless of how we feel. Our lesson this week gives us a jump start in that direction.