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The recipe for true happiness

The recipe for true happiness

A good recipe and a good cook make for a good meal! In a way, it is similar to happiness. It is not the result of a single factor, but many things in life come together to produce happiness. These include work, play, time with family and friends, and spiritual activities. But there are also more subtle factors such as attitudes, desires and goals in life. (Source: Awake! Magazine, April 2006).

According to many newspaper reports of March 21, 2023, Nigeria ranked 95th as the happiest nation in the world, with 4.981 points. Finland maintained its lead as the world’s happiest country for the sixth year in a row. Eight of the 10 happiest nations were found in Europe. Denmark remained in second place and Iceland ranked third. The fourth to tenth positions were held by Israel, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

There is . . . happiness in giving – Acts 20:35

The above-mentioned newspaper report was released on Monday, March 20, 2023 by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network as part of the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, which takes place throughout the world on March 20 of every year. This observance was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June, 2012. The happiness report assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10 based on an average over a three-year period.

Among African countries, Mauritius topped the list with 5.902 points, followed by Algeria (5.329), South-Africa (5.275), Congo Brazzaville (5.267), Guinea (5.072), Côte d’ Ivoire (5.053) and Gabon (5.035).

In a January 1, 2018 article in The Guardian Nigeria newspapers, by Ujunwa Atueyi, five main, practical points were discussed, about how everyone can find happiness and live a purpose-driven life. These practical points are highlighted below:

(1). BE MORE ACTIVE

Many studies have focused on the role of physical exercise not only in keeping us fit, but also in improving other aspects of our physical and mental health. . . . Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that exercise can counteract and prevent depression. . . . As little as one hour of exercise each week, regardless of intensity, can keep mood disorders at bay, found researchers from Australia’s Black Dog Institute.

(2). GET ENOUGH SLEEP

A good night’s sleep should be a priority in our search for happiness and wellness. Sleep is important in memory consolidation, fear learning, and keeping our brain well-rested so that we can react appropriately to events during the day.

(3). SETTLE FOR A HAPPY DIET

What you eat does influence your mood. A systematic review of multiple studies that investigated the link between diet and mental health concluded that a Mediterranean –style diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains could prevent depression.

(4). MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Research suggests that if we want to get that joie de vivre into our lives, then we had better spend more time outside. In order to really feel happier, we should spend more time in nature.

(5). BE KIND TO OTHERS AND TO YOURSELF

Finally, but very importantly, in order to achieve a stronger sense of fulfilment and well-being, we should learn to treat ourselves with kindness – and then extend that generosity to others.

Regarding this final point on kindness and generosity, Professors Phillipe Tobler and Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich in Switzerland confirm what the Holy Scriptures say in Acts 20:35, quoted at the outset. Their research showed that generosity is strongly associated with happiness, and we feel more joy when we give. This also supports previous research that indicated that volunteer work brings psychological benefits.

Also, let us all remember to just be thankful. Gratitude for what we have, and for the people in our lives, is another important factor when it comes to mental well-being, leading to more optimism and improved relationships.

A happy disposition is good medicine, says Proverbs 17:22a. “Happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, colds and upper-respiratory infections,” says a report in Time magazine. Furthermore, a Dutch study of elderly patients revealed that over a nine-year period, a happy, positive disposition reduced the risk of death by an amazing 50 percent! Research has also shown that positive, optimistic people have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to suppress the immune system.

Just as following a good recipe can produce delicious food, so following divine guidance can result in happiness. To conclude, here are Nine Ingredients for Happiness:

(1). Develop a spiritual outlook on life. -Matthew 5:3.

(2). Be Content and avoid “the love of money.” -1 Timothy 6:6-10.

(3). Keep pleasures in their place. -2 Timothy 3:1, 4.

(4). Be generous and work for the happiness of others. -Acts 20:35.

(5). Be thankful and count your blessings. -Colossians 3:15.

(6). Have a forgiving spirit. -Matthew 6:14.

(7). Choose your associates wisely. -Proverbs 13:20.

(8). Take good care of your body and shun bad habits. -2 Corinthians 7:1.

(9). ‘Rejoice in the hope’ set out for you in the Bible. -Romans 12:12.

To learn more about The Way of Happiness, please read the Awake! Magazine No. 1 2018, which you can access using the search feature on www.jw.org.

Stay happy!

Daniel IGHAKPE writes from Festac Town, Lagos. Email: [email protected]; 0817 479 5742.