We are trying to "feel good" about ourselves or we are trying to medicate our reality with the various addictions and dysfunctions that assault us…but in the end the things that we feed ourselves never satisfy, they only create a greater hunger or need for more.
In reality, what we really need is to reconnect with God, the only true source of joy regardless of circumstances. In this article they make the connection that our happiness greatly increases as we enter into spiritual experiences in comparison to our cultures remedy of shopping to fill the void…check it out it is pretty interesting.
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Can money buy happiness?
No, and neither can spending money, suggest researchers from Ben-Gurion
University in Israel. Their as-yet-unpublished study took a look at
consumer shopping habits over the last three decades and compared it to
participation in religious activities, and found that, among women,
money makes us much less happy than going to church.
THE DETAILS: The authors used data collected by the
University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Council. The Council
conducts a "General Social Survey" annually or biannually, and collects
information from a sample of adults over 18 on their happiness levels.
Looking specifically at adults who lived in states where "blue laws"
(laws prohibiting commercial activity on Sundays) had been repealed
between 1973 and 1998, they compared the happiness levels of adults with
reported church attendance over that 25-year period. (Because
Christians are most likely to attend church on Sundays, while Jews and
Muslims normally attend religious services on Fridays or Saturdays, the
researchers looked specifically at Christians for this study.)
Women, but not men, seemed to experience a steep decline in both
church attendance and their happiness levels over the course of the
25-year post-blue law period. The data showed that blue law repeals
decreased the likelihood of people reporting that they were "pretty
happy" to "not happy" by at least 17 percent. But the authors also noted
that people whose religious participation didn't change after blue laws
were repealed reported no drop in happiness levels. Using other data
collected from the survey, the researchers ruled out the possibility
that the declines could be related to women's increased participation in
the workforce or to family issues.
WHAT IT MEANS: We could all stand to take a "day of
rest" from commercialism to get some perspective on what makes us truly
happy, whether we consider ourselves religious or not. For those who
attend them, religious services provide fellowship and often give people
a greater sense of meaning to life, says Danny Cohen-Zada, PhD,
assistant professor in the department of economics at Ben-Gurion
University and lead author of the study. And he adds that although his
study looked only at people who identified themselves as Christian, the
relationship between religion and happiness would likely hold true for
women of other faiths as well.
But if attending services makes people happier, why don't people go
more regularly, or go back if they've stopped going? Cohen-Zada has a
few theories, he says, foremost among them is simply that shopping
provides more immediate gratification. "Since immediate satisfaction
from shopping is higher than from religious participation, they choose
shopping even if they know that in the long run they would be less
happy," he says. "In addition to this, the addictive nature of shopping
helps them to choose the immediate lower satisfaction over the long-run
higher satisfaction." In the long run, he says, "People derive greater
satisfaction from religious participation than from shopping. Our work
contributes to the idea that money is overrated, and other factors,
including religion, tend to be underrated."
Here are a few ways to avoid falling into the trap of turning
to shopping as a way to derive some immediate gratification and a false
sense of happiness:
• Institute your own "blue laws." Whether you choose
Sunday or some other day of the week that better fits with your
schedule, designate one day of every week as a no shopping day. (And
yes, that includes shopping online.) Instead, use that day to spend more
time with family or to find some other activity you find fulfilling. A
study published earlier this year even suggests that it could make you
more attractive in other people's eyes: The study found that people who
are considered more experiential, meaning they spend money on
experiences rather than things, are more attractive than materialistic people.
• Find religion, whether you're religious or not. In
his study, Cohen-Zada found that for each point increase in
church-service attendance, self-reported happiness increased by 10.7
percent. Even those who don't consider themselves religious can tap into
that happiness factor through prayer or meditation,
says Rodale.com advisor Jeffrey Rossman, PhD. He suggests sharing your
feelings with a higher power—even if that means "the universe" or a
wise, caring part of yourself. Doing so allows you to open up to
something greater than yourself, and eases the feeling that you need to
bear every burden on your own.
• Take a walk. We've all been known to indulge in
"retail therapy" when we're feeling unhappy. But as this study suggests,
buying things, or even engaging in the simple act of shopping, doesn't
provide us with long-term happiness. The next time you're tempted to hit
the mall to relieve stress, imagine yourself late in life looking back
on what you buy, and you'll probably realize that stuff will provide you
with very short-lived satisfaction. Instead, call a friend to chat,
head to your house of worship, or simply go for a walk. Multiple studies
have shown that time in nature makes us happier, anyway.
hhmmm, so I guess I'll see you at church this Sunday 🙂