Up until 2018, the most popular class in Yale’s 316-year history was “Psychology and the Law.” But which class recently eclipsed it? Happiness 101.
According to a recent article from The New York Times, the course entitled Psychology and the Good Life focused on well-being and tried “to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life.” So what did they learn?
- Money buys only so much happiness. According toa study by two Nobel Prize winning economists, well-being rises with income until you reach $75,000, then it levels off. There’s no observable increase in happiness with higher income.
- Happy people devote time to family and friends. Humans have a deep need for connection and experience joy when that need is met. One study noted in Time Magazine claims that as much as 70 percent of happiness comes from relationships with others.
- Physical activity, attending church and expressing gratitude matter. A study by The Journal of Economic Psychology found that experiencing positive and engaging things on a regular basis provide “small but frequent boosts,” which add up to greater mental and spiritual health. This is also why experts encourage people to buy “experiences” instead of things — they last longer.
- You feel good when you do good. There’s an old proverb that says “If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. For a day? Go fishing. For a year? Inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.” Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute found that people who volunteer and give, “experience fewer depressive symptoms, less anxiety, and enjoy a more meaningful life.”
What could be more meaningful than combining these ideas by connecting with family through service or giving? Inspiring generosity in the next generation is a great way to connect, and blessing a ministry you care about is a great way to leave a legacy.
We believe ultimate joy comes from knowing and sharing Christ. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ps. 16:11.