Soon, we will all be shouting, “Happy New Year!” It’s a warm and hopeful sentiment because we know that happy people live longer, healthier and more prosperous lives. Scripture confirms that true happiness is found in our relationship with God.
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13
But do we play a part in feeling happy?
A study reported in the March 2008 issue ofPsychological Science concludes that certain personality traits predispose us to happiness. Even if you are fortunate to have happy genetics, about 50 percent of happiness is up to us and influenced by external factors in our lives. Thus, we do influence how happy we are. How?
Make God your most important relationship.
When you know God wants your best, is ordering your steps and can be trusted to be who He says He is and does what He promises, happiness is an outcome of that relationship.
Work on your intimate relationships.
Strong and healthy marriages are associated with increased happiness. People who pursue intimacy with others and don’t judge themselves against others are happy.
Be grateful and express it.
Happiness increases in those who feel and express gratitude.
University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson found that forgiveness is a trait linked to happiness.
Don’t look to materialism.
What doesn’t make people happy is stuff! One of the reasons we find depression increasing after the holidays is that possessions don’t bring the proclaimed happiness advertisers purport they do. When happiness is dependent on materialism, people feel empty and realize that stuff cannot fill the void.
So on December 31, when we ring in the New Year, remember to keep God at the center of your life, work on your relationships and keep them strong, don’t buy in to the idea that things bring happiness and maintain an attitude of gratefulness and forgiveness all year long.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Everyone likes to win. But last night, during the football playoffs, some people on social media needed to get a grip! These are only games people!
Yes, I get intense during those games too, but when time runs out and a winner is declared, it’s time to give it a rest and lose with grace.
What does it mean to lose gracefully? For some of us, this review might help!
1) Remember, it’s only a game. Unless you gambled big on this game, the cost of losing just means our team is out of the playoffs. OK, we don’t like it, but this isn’t hunger games! Put it in perspective.
2) Are your kids watching and observing you when you lose? Don’t forget you are modeling for your kids how to handle losing. They are watching and learning. Hot headed kids usually come from hot headed parents. Think, this is a teaching moment.
3) The shrink is me likes to look at WHY we lost. Last night, horrible defense was the culprit. And personally, I think it is time for a new quarterback. But no on in the Chicago Bears organization is asking my opinion. This is one of those times I have no control over why we lost. In those cases, you have to let it go and not ruminate on what went wrong. When you do have control (e.g., the coach), it helps to look at what could be different next time. We can learn from losses if we use them to review what could change. Failure is a chance to learn.
4) Let off steam during the game but don’t get out of control. When my son was playing soccer in middle school, the parents became so out of control that we were asked to be completely silent for one game. We could only applaud when a child scored a goal. The rest of the game, parents could not comment or talk. It was a little weird, but the parents got the message. Too many were over the top with their yelling and screaming. I’m thinking some of those kids were going to have major daddy issues over the comments yelled at them. Again, it’s only a game and not worth damaging a relationship.
5) Acknowledge the winner. At the end of the 2010 Superbowl, Peyton Manning left the field without shaking the hand of winning quarterback, Drew Brees. Really, Peyton. If you get the chance to do this again in 2014, let’s have a little better attitude. Ok, maybe Peyton was disgusted with himself for the loss, but shake the hand of the opponent and show some respect. Don’t sulk! It’s not becoming.
In the end, losing brings out character–good, bad and the ugly. We’ve got a few more games to go. We can all practice our losing skills because only one team eventually wins! And how we accept loss may be remembered as much as the winning.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, but I felt like a louse!
As I gazed at the packages all in a row, I was aghast!
The tree looked bulimic due to my past.
I slumped to the floor and grabbed hold of my man,
We have only two children. There’s enough here for ten!
We stared at the swollen piles of toys
Surely this is too much for one girl and boy!
Slowly we picked through the huge bulging pile,
This one can wait for a little more while.
One for next year, maybe one for a treat,
Whittling the stack, our eyes again meet,
We came to our senses,
We lessened the gifts.
Enough was still there
No one would get miffed!
Next year, we pledged
Will be different you’ll see
We’ll keep it in balance
When on Santa’s knee.
The season is known for its gift giving treats
But Christ was born, to sin’s great defeat.
The baby asleep in that manager so small
Would bring to us peace and joy for all.
Our children will know the true meaning of this,
A Christmas where Christ is truly our bliss.
So gather around that more sensible tree
And remember, Jesus, was born for you and for me.
By Dr. Linda Mintle
Remember the reason for the season!