| Peter Cook

How to find greater joy in life – BE HAPPY

Introduction

Be Happy!

Did you know that a ‘World Happiness Report’ is a thing? The Earth Institute at Columbia University publishes it. Recently, it showed that the US is 15th on the ‘Happiness Scale’ and that we had gone down from 2005.

People in the US are depressed, and it is one of the most common mental disorders in our society today.

Statistics from 2017 states that over 17 million adults in the US had at least one major episode of depression in that year. That is more than 7% of all adults in the US. (Somebody defined significant depressive episode as a period of at least two weeks where a person lost interest and pleasure in daily activities and had problems with eating, sleeping, concentration, and self-worth.)

Even more troubling is that the highest prevalence among adults with a major episode of depression was among people aged 18-25. (13%). It is our younger generation – ‘kids’ with their whole lives and all of its possibilities ahead of them. This age group is the group that should be having adventures, meeting their life partners, and starting families.

Our next few blogs

At Largest Heart, we thought to dedicate this fall and start of winter to the spreading of joy. As you know, it is part of our mission to spread love, hope, and information. We feel there is too much negativity, anger, and hostility in this world. How can you make a difference? How can you restore balance and peace in your life?

In our next few blogs, we are going to explore this topic. As we move into winter – a natural time to be more depressed – walk with us? If we can make just one of you stress less and be less depressed with sharing our information, it will be worthwhile. You deserve joy. God did not create us for depression and anger.

How can you help yourself to find greater joy in life? In this blog and the next one, we aim to give you a few things to think about. But first -

‘Joy’ and ‘happiness’ are not the same.

What is happiness? You are happy when things are going your way. It is based on circumstances. Should circumstances change, you can become unhappy. Happiness can be ‘manufactured’ with a good cup of coffee or a funny movie.

Joy, on the other hand, is independent of circumstances. It is a deep sense of pleasure, gladness, and well-being that is not dictated by what is happening around you. It is much more challenging to attain.

Joy flows from the conviction that God will let things work out. Our hearts can smile, even in our dark moments.

The question is: Are you relying on yourself to be happy? Or are you willing to let the joy of the Lord work in your life? Only then can you be truly happy and free from depression.

‘How can I find greater joy in life?’

Find something meaningful

We can find joy in tough circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, was difficult for a lot of us. But what can you take from it? Perhaps from now on, you will be able to look back on 2020 as the year when you spent precious, quality time with your family. Maybe you have realized that working from home is not so bad, and you can make that change.

A way to find meaning in life and become more joyful is to let 'little moments' add up. Ask yourself: What can bring me joy today? Before you know it, all those little moments of every day had built up to create more lasting joy.

Find joy in God's presence.

Even if you have never done it, if you make a determined effort to spend time with God, you will find joy. We even want to go as far as to say that you cannot ever fully be free of depression without God’s help.

Psalm 16:11 says, ‘In Your presence, there is fullness of joy…’

Conclusion

We want to invite you to let joy into your life this winter. It is a process, a mindset, a ‘let go and let God.’ Please drop us a note if you need immediate help or support. In our next blog, we’ll explore the topic further.


Resources

https://www.prevention.com/health/mental-health/g33002023/how-to-find-joy/
https://experiencelife.com/article/7-ways-to-experience-more-joy/
https://jamesriver.church/blog/10waystogetyourjoyback
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml