A recent UBC study based on data from Statistics Canada has concluded that Vancouver and Toronto are the unhappiest cities in Canada.
Over 400,000 people were asked how satisfied they were with their lives.
Through their responses, researchers learned that people in rural areas are happier than those living in cities.
The major reason was attributed to how much the respondents felt a sense of belonging, involvement, and attachment to their community.
These findings remind us once again that life satisfaction is not found in money or other worldly endeavours.
Further, John Helliwell, a renowned economist and one of the researchers, noted that trust and being part of a group engaged in improving lives added to happiness.
There is a Chinese saying: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
The study confirmed two well-known foundational pieces to the mystery of attaining happiness: helping others and being part of a caring group of people.
As a Christian, and from my own experience, these two points ring true with what the Bible teaches about happiness.
Firstly, with regard to helping others, Luke 6, verse 38 states: “Give, and it will be given to you.”
Of course, it is obvious that helping others is pleasing to God and we learn further in Ecclesiastes 2, verse 26, His promise “to the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.”
Secondly, the importance of being connected with people who care and help others is mentioned in Hebrews 10, verses 24 and 25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”
So, if you are wondering how to improve your life and experience more happiness despite your circumstances, begin by helping others and becoming part of a caring group of people.
But most importantly, allow God to guide you along the path to a happier and more fulfilling life.
“Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15.
Patricia Bryan is the founder of the Academy of Prayer.