One thing that all people everywhere want to be is happy. Happy in what they do, with their choices in life, where they live, with family both chosen and not. Suggestions in what to do to achieve happiness abound: make your world a better place by volunteering, or participating in the political process; maybe take a class or get involved with a hobby; work out more for the endorphin rush; and eat better foods with plenty of B vitamins and magnesium.
As it turns out, researchers in Holland and England followed 9,000 older Europeans and tracked their happiness levels as associated with participation in four different activities. The one that demonstrated the longest lasting and sustained happiness for the study subjects? Religion. Via The Washington Post:
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology by researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that the secret to sustained happiness lies in participation in religion.
“The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depressing at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life,” Mauricio Avendano, an epidemiologist at LSE and an author of the study, said in a statement. “It is not clear to us how much this is about religion per se, or whether it may be about the sense of belonging and not being socially isolated.”
Or the peace that comes with offering up all troubles to God and asking for help without being judged about it…oh, wait, this is “science” not theology, or a treatise on why the Church is 2,000 years old, and why so many of us find regenerative renewal just by sitting in a quiet church building alone.
There were some interesting findings in the study, though. Healthier people do like to volunteer. Being part of political movements loses its luster after a while. The stress of interacting with the people encountered in both scenarios can lead to depression later on. In this, older Europeans are no different than older Americans.
As for what religion, going to church and praying does, the ladies of Outnumbered and Dr. Manny Alvarez explain why this study has validity.
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The psychotherapy is free, it’s cheap and it’s very good. No arguments here. Dr. Manny says the Rosary. This writer is a weekly Eucharistic Adoration attendee where she does that and reads Scripture. There’s more than one way to achieve the peace religion brings when practiced regularly.
So, are sex, drugs, and rock and roll the secret to happiness? Nope. Sad that it takes a study for intellectuals hell bent on denying God to entertain the idea that He might be the secret to happiness.