Writing in the Huffington Post ‘Healthy Living’ Blog, Sharon Frey McElroy examines how abuse victim Ben Bosinger learned to let go of years of resentment toward his father. And she shares how she was able to forgive a couple of fellows at a cafe that upset her by talking about women in a derogatory way.
McElroy then shares some ideas that can help anyone find peace through forgiveness. She writes, “…heading down the path of forgiveness can be as simple as knowing we each have this spiritual sense that can identify the good that’s present even where it seems far from obvious.”
Want a more peaceful day? Need a “Ben Bosinger moment”?
I heartily recommend this Huffington Post article, originally published in PlainViews, a publication of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Want Peace? Try Forgiveness.
What if we ranked nations by their “gross national happiness” instead of their gross national product?
That’s how the country of Bhutan has measured itself since the early 1970’s.
If you live in Michigan, as I do, where we still have snow on the ground, snow in the air at times, and it’s just plain cold out – where there’s still talk about winter blues and we wonder when spring weather will finally show up – it might seem strange to find out that yesterday – March 20 – was both the first day of spring and International Day of Happiness!
A Detroit Free Press article observed that some people think the United Nations has more important things to draw attention to than this. On the other hand, the U.N. Secretary-General spoke about helping others and contributing to the common good – of the need for a new economic paradigm in which “social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible.”
So what does happiness have to do with well-being? A research paper¹ by Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven in The Journal of Happiness Studies in 2008 looked at 30 follow-up studies on happiness and its effect on health and longevity. It states: “It is widely acknowledged that mental factors may influence physical functioning and that psychological well-being works positively on physical health.” It points out that where depression slows down the functioning of the body and health, happiness keeps “the body fit and resilient”. It even found that the effect of happiness on longevity in healthy populations is comparable to that of not smoking.
The U.N. resolution establishing International Day of Happiness recognized “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals…”
So what is happiness? Can you hold happiness in your hands or store it in a jar?
“Happiness is spiritual”² writes Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in the field of spirituality and health. She writes further, “It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.”
Spiritual things such as kindness, compassion, feeling a connection with the divine and feeling a connection with our fellowman all contribute to being happy. The U.N. Secretary-General said it succinctly, “compassion promotes happiness…”
And since happiness is good for health and longevity, perhaps we could take a lesson from Bhutan and measure ourselves not only by our individual net worth but also by our individual net happiness. Maybe that will even warm things up a bit and thaw those winter blues.
“A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being” writes Melinda Beck in a November 23, 2010 HealthJournal article in the Wall Street Journal.
One of the Easter hymns in my church says, “Let us sing of Easter gladness that rejoices every day…”¹
Jesus’ resurrection has meaning for us every day. It shows us, among other things, that the real essence of our being is spiritual. And this leads to more health and happiness.
It’s clear that Jesus’ resurrection showed us that true life is eternal. But a material mortal has a material birth, a temporary material life and a material death. So what kind of being has eternal life? Not a material being. So if our true life is eternal, our true being is spiritual. The resurrection reveals that we’re really eternal, spiritual beings.