I’ve been reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen. The title is You, Happier.
I began reading the book because the title of people’s lives and attitudes today tends to be – Me, Sadder! I have low moments, I get frustrated, and I get mad too. But I believe the solution is joy. I follow the Apostle Paul’s simple prescription for happiness:
Always be joyful! (1 Thessalonians 5:16, NLT)
Dr. Amen teaches this same philosophy, adding current scientific research, affirming the 2,000-year-old advice of Paul!
Rabbit trail alert!
When I first saw Dr. Amen’s name, I thought, “Wow, I hope he is isn’t a Pentecostal. Can you imagine him attending a worship service with many shouts of ‘Amen’? No, he needs to be a Presbyterian!” Then I read in his book that he attended Oral Roberts University – a bonified Pentecostal school.
Throughout his book, Dr. Amen makes a point of the necessity of spirituality for happiness. He writes toward the end:
Science is beginning to catch up to the importance of spirituality in people’s mental health and well-being. For example, research has shown that attending religious services on a regular basis and daily prayer are associated with many health benefits, including a decreased risk of stress, depression, addiction, hypertension, and heart disease, and an increase in forgiveness, self-control, longevity, happiness, and life satisfaction. Without faith in our lives, we would be like a four-legged stool that is missing one leg.
Dr. Amen lists six questions about your purpose in life.
His research indicates that a key factor in happiness is having a purposeful life. Introducing the six questions, he indicates that only two of the four are about “you” or “self”. He believes that ultimate happiness is helping others.
Ask yourself the following questions from Dr. Amen:
- What do you love to do?
- Who do you do it for?
- Are there hurts from your past that you turn into help for others?
- What do others need or want from you?
- How do others change as a result of what you do?
- How do you want to be remembered?
Dr. Amen writes that when someone asks about what you do, answer them from question 5. His answer is:
I help people have better brains and better lives, so they suffer less, become happier and healthier, and pass what they have learned on to others.
The simple act of defining your life within the perspective of helping others produces happiness. Again, this reflects the Apostle Paul’s advice:
Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT).