This morning I caught a brief interview with Sonja Lyubomirsky, a research psychologist, who has studied the science of personal happiness and published her results in the book “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want.”
The interview on Good Morning America highlighted 3 of the 12 strategies an individual can employ to scientifically achieve happiness:
Interestingly, the excerpt of the book on the GMA website quickly offers the Serenity Prayer – God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – and asks “how can you know the difference?” The research asserts that 60% of our happiness is determined by things like our genetics, which are obviously out of our personal control, and certain life circumstances. The study identifies some changes in circumstances – such as moving or personal appearance – as ineffective in bringing about anything more than a temporary boost in happiness.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the remaining 9 strategies were also practices that flow from a life of faith – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As followers of Jesus Christ know, these fruit of the Spirit are as much cultivated as they are a gift; they are a gift of God we can choose to put into practice. Always available to the believer, putting them into practice does absolutely bear the result of happiness. I do love it when science and faith collide.