I love reading Arthur C. Brooks’ “How to Build a Life” column in The Atlantic every week.  Last week he shared “10 Practical Ways to Improve Happiness.”  It was fabulous!  I suggest reading it all if you have the time or the interest.  But if you don’t have either, here’s the list of 10 practical ways to improve happiness from Arthur C. Brooks:

1. Invest in family and friends.
2. Join a club.
3. Be active both mentally and physically.
4. Practice your religion.
5. Get physical exercise.
6. Act nicely.
7. Be generous.
8. Check your health.
9. Experience nature.
10. Socialize with colleagues outside of work.   

One thing I learned a long time ago is that no one is responsible for my own happiness but me.  What I mean is that we have to be self-responsible when it comes to managing our own happiness.  Sure, we can rely on other people to make us happy.  But what if they get moody or are having a rough time?  What if they aren’t around (for whatever reason)?  Plus it puts a lot of pressure on loved ones to make anybody else happy. 

I appreciate a list like this because it’s practical and feels empowering.  We, you and me, can improve our own happiness.  We can be nice!  Did you know that agreeableness has been correlated to happiness?  We can be generous!  When we’re altruistic, it boosts the hormones in our brains that make us feel happy, really!  We can go for a walk outside in the woods.  We can pray and attend worship.  We can spend quality time with our families and friends.  The point is that we can do a whole lot to improve our own happiness.  This knowledge feels like a gift, to help us be who God created us to be.  And that’s my thought (inspired by Arthur C. Brooks) to share with you for this week. 

Pastor Lauren

Photo by Denise Jones on Unsplash

Thursday Thoughts 4/28/22