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Happiness - A God given capacity to enjoy and celebrate life
Life is to be celebrated!
True celebration and happiness is a 'by-product' of living a joy filled life. It is not dependent upon or reversed by the challenges and circumstances of life, for true happiness is an attitude, a way of viewing life that comes from within you.
Celebration means observance; commemoration; jollification; merrymaking; festivity; gaiety; frolic; hilarity; joviality; mirth and merriment- is that how you 'experience life'?
The opposite of celebration is sadness; solemnity; sorrow; grief; mourning; wailing; bewailing; melancholy; depression - sadly, too often that is how many people experience life.
Being happy and living a life of celebration has to do with 'living in a state of flow', that is, being present and engaged in life, whether at work or in leisure times. It requires a capacity to embrace and enjoy life, in the moment.
God Cares About Your Happiness
The Bible teaches that God is concerned about your happiness and that He wants you to enjoy and live your life as a celebration.
'For God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment', it says in 1 Timothy 6:17.
The Bible speaks over and over again that if we know and love God, we will be 'blessed', that is, happy, favoured and to be envied.
It also speaks of some of the benefits of living a happy life of celebration, such as in the ancient Proverbs -
'A happy heart makes the face cheerful...but heartache crushes the spirit'.
'All the days of the oppressed are wretched...but the happy heart has a continual feast'.
A happy heart is good medicine...but a crushed spirit dries up the bones'.
Some keys to being happy and enjoying life...
Here are some keys to being happy and enjoying your life.
1. Savour the moment - learn to live in the present. For example, treasure the smile of your child in the morning; the satisfaction of helping a friend out; the pleasure of curling up with a good book; and the amazing vastness of the starry sky at night - to name just a few simple things.
2. Take control of your time - to enjoy your life requires making time, decluttering your life from the mundane, the minutae and unnecessary responsibilities to make room for activities that bring enjoyment to your life.
3. Accentuate the positive - there is plenty of evidence to suggest that negative emotions lash back at us, while positive ones can boost the body's health and outlook and capacity to enjoy. Why not try this for a few weeks - list three things each day that you are grateful for; and why not try journalling at least one positive experience that you experienced that day.
4. Think and meditate (ponder) on the good things in your life - it's all too easy to see and recite the challenges that come in life, but why not take time to reflect on and linger on the wonderful blessings and benefits in your life. A Proverb says, 'As a man thinks (ponders and considers continually) in his heart, so is he'. So fix your mind on good things, on the blessings you have, on the possibilities that lie ahead, on the gift of life you experience each moment.
5. Give priority to close relationships - everything in life works through relationships. People with close friends, spouses, partners and so on, cope better with the challenges in life and have a greater capacity to enjoy and share life. According to a recent National Poll in the U.S, people who could name 5 close friends were 60% more likely to be 'very happy' than those who couldn't name any. In the midst of the deep challenges of life (which come to us all) it is the love and friendship of family and close friends that strengthen, support and help us through to a place where we can be healthy, strong, laugh and be happy again.
6. Get moving - Walk, put on a C.D. and dance, do a gym class, run and play with your kids, whatever it takes... get moving! Exercise and activity are soooo good for you. They make you feel good - even happy. We were created to be active, not to sit at a desk or on a couch all day. To boost your 'happy' - get moving. This is where music can help boost your mood amazingly too.
7. Live out - An inward focussed life does not lead to health and happiness. Living out gives focus and purpose to life. It brings great joy and happiness. Even in the midst of great challenges in one's own life, I have observed and experienced the joy that comes when I am able to 'get over myself' and help someone else through an act of kindness. In fact, not much compares to the joy that brings.
8. Rest, peace and tranquility - are vital to our well being and are the conditions that allow great creativity. The Bible says, 'Be still and know that I am God'. Psalm 23 says, 'He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul'. Taking time to refresh, recharge and replenish is time well spent and will allow us to experience peace and joy in our lives that could otherwise be blocked by frantic activity and overbearing schedules.
9. Take care of your soul - actual research and studies both in Australia and the U.S. seem to show that people who have an active faith are happier and have a greater capacity to enjoy life than those who do not. Faith can't ensure that you will be immune to sadness, but faith applied to your life, that is, giving attention to your soul, will greatly enhance your ability to enjoy life and have plenty to celebrate about.
Jesus actually said, 'I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full'. (Jn. 10:10).