An article in Time Magazine in 2014 provided the scientifically analysed results of what the happiest people on earth had in common. Researchers found the following five secrets to happiness:
Firstly, there was a clear answer to what differentiated these people from everyone else, and it wasn’t money, intelligence, age, gender or race. The number one secret was strong relationships. The Grant Study (which followed a group of men for their entire lives) found that “the capacity to love and be loved was the single strength most clearly associated with subjective well-being at age 80”. Spending time with loved ones, family and friends is sure to provide happiness and it is the one thing that most people have regretted, not spending enough time with those they love.
The second secret was to do more, not less. It is healthy to be busy provided the stress levels aren’t too great. There is a saying that goes, “if you want something done, ask a busy person.” Busy people are highly motivated and are therefore more likely to get extra things done easier than those who live sedentary lives.
The third secret is to work in a job that you enjoy and not to stay in a job that you dislike, or at least not for very long.
The fourth secret is to plan your happiness by actively living your life and not passively waiting for things to happen.
The fifth secret was to live a meaningful life by being a giver rather than a taker. There is more joy and fulfilment in giving rather than receiving.
These results concerning happiness are of no surprise to God. The Bible tells us that “God is love” and that “whoever does not love, does not know God.” (1 John 4:8) Jesus Christ answered the teachers of the law when they asked him what was the most important commandment “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
The Bible also affirms that it is important to work so as to win the respect of others and to not be dependent on anybody (1 Thess 4:11-12) and that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). For those who seek to live a life of wisdom, happiness and joy there is no greater book to read than the Holy Bible.