I read “Feel Happier Today,” by Lisa Fields in the May 2020 issue of Reader’s Digest. Last week I began my spin on what the author had to say. My first point was practice God’s presence, and practice the habits that engender happiness. Here are the five other happiness boosting tips I promised you:
Increase social connections (and social media rarely counts). I once committed to writing a prison inmate twice a month for the duration of his incarceration. I was astonished by the response this evoked, of the importance that small connection held. Phone calls and walks and cups of tea are simple things with high impact (even when they must be held at a distance). I have to fight against my inner hermit. Do you? I’m helped by the verse that tells us not to forsake assembling together. So, connect!
Perform acts of kindness. These feel good and cause us to turn our focus away from our own troubles. Kindness comes in many forms. Some of the best are cheap and simple. Don’t hold back! The Bible is full of directions (commands, perhaps) to be kind and loving to one another. We’re better off when we continue to practice acts of kindness regardless of our circumstances. I’d love for you to tell me how you’ve experienced simple kindness, or how you’ve delivered kindness and felt happy because of it.
Get some exercise. Our bodies belong to the Lord. Exercise keeps us healthier. Studies say it also makes us more cheerful and better able to handle stress. (I’ve certainly seen that in my own life.) Nearly everyone can do some sort of exercise. ‘Enough said on that point. Please put on your sneakers.
Get enough sleep. Steve just finished reading a book by Dr. Matthew Walker that insists we all need 7-8 hours each night, and we suffer more than we realize when we skimp. Getting enough sleep seems so indulgent, doesn’t it? But, in the end, it empowers us to do a better job of living—and living happily. I love to read, to watch movies, and to keep my to-do list tidy, but I’ve had to forego a good bit of all three in order to maximize my sleep. I challenge you to consider doing the same.
Here’s one Reader’s Digest didn’t mention: Let go of fear. Fear is a sleep-robber, a joy-killer, and a powerful excuse to turn our focus solely on ourselves. I’ll end this essay by telling you what my life group leader has to say:
- “The most repeated command in all of scripture is “Fear not.”
- “Fear is faith in the enemy.”
- “Keep your love, your joy, and your peace.” (Yes, I pray that you will do just that!)
photo by @stanislas1 via Unsplash.com