25 easy steps to a happy, full and long life
It was the headline in the newspaper that caught my attention, 25 easy steps to a happy, full and long life. Now who wouldn't want to find out those secrets?
Actually the article was about having a successful marriage. Researchers from the University of Berkeley in California found that having a good night's sleep makes you less likely to take your partner for granted, making you love and appreciate them more. This prompted the writer to check what other advice “experts” from around the world have given to ensure that we live happier, longer and more fulfilled lives.
The practical, the wacky and the good
Some were practical – save money, tell the truth, do the housework, get a dog and get on with your parents.
What about sharing a bottle of wine with your other half, getting a bigger TV to keep the family together, ignoring what your colleagues get paid, being optimistic, having a cuddle, doing the housework or having a laugh?
I particularly liked the one that simply said “Look down”. Researchers at Birkbeck University in London who measured happiness levels discovered that finding a £10 note gives us a glow. I suspect any of us could have told them that!
Go to church and join a choir
But the two suggestions that interested me were Go to church and Join a choir. A study by the University of Texas found that the more you go to church, the longer you live, adding 2 to 3 years to your life. Intriguing at a time when churchgoing is diminishing in the Western world. Mind you even in New Testament times the early Christians were encouraged not to give up the habit of meeting together. But of course the benefits of going to church are not about a longer life (possibly), but rather about how we learn to live our lives to please God. And of course to thank Him for our salvation and to worship Him. It's less about us and more about Him.
As for joining a choir, well even if your voice isn't good enough to get you into one you can still sing the hymns at church. After all the Bible says we should make a joyful noise to the Lord; it doesn't say it has to be tuneful. So have a good sing the next time you are in church, knowing that it's doing you good health-wise too.
Whether some or all of these ideas work is a matter of opinion, but we can rely on the words of Jesus when He said that He came so that we could have life; indeed, so that we could live life to the fullest. That'll do for me!