There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and that one day you will have a drawer with too many pens in it. Oh, and there’s the certainty that someone is currently conducting a study on happiness. The latest research claims that there are three tips you need to “find more joy in your life.” What are they?
1) Ditch social media. Social media now dictates how we navigate our daily lives, read the news and interact with friends and strangers. But the constant negative exposure, scientists say, is taking its toll on our psyches. New studies are linking frequent social media use with poorer mental and physical health. What do researchers advise? Trim your social networking habit. Take a break. Get outside. Do something. Anything!
2) Deploy random acts of kindness. Psychologists asked 175 newlyweds to jot down times when their spouse set aside personal wishes to meet their partner’s needs, like sweeping the floor or doing dishes. Acts of kindness made them both happier. And, get this, the one who performed the selfless act received greater satisfaction than the recipient. Humans are wired to give, shows the study – which makes me think that listeners should send me chocolate bars or something. It would bring them happiness. I’m kidding.
3) Let go of grudges. According to another study, forgiving both yourself and others can protect against stress and the toll it takes on mental health. In fact, if people were quick to forgive, that characteristic alone erased the connection between stress and mental illness. You know, I find it humorous that we spend millions to discover things that are already in the Book of joy, which is what I call the book of Philippians. It’s the happiest book in the Bible. We find these three happiness points covered and many others. Though iPhones aren’t mentioned directly, Paul invites us to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy. We’ll rarely find them on social media.
Paul applauds acts of kindness, saying, “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.” “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.” And he models grudgeless living. After being beaten, maligned, and imprisoned, he writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice.”
So today’s assignment? Ignore our phones, practice kindness, and lay down whatever grudges we’ve picked up along the way. Thanks to our scientists, and the Book of joy, for these three steps on the journey to laugh again.