Three Ways to be happy according to Science and the Bible
1. Think of happiness
White Bear Problem
Professor Simon Sinek explains that the human brain cannot comprehend the negative. For example, he told his audience, “Don’t think of an elephant… and what do you immediately think?”
This phenomenon is known as the “white bear problem,” first identified by psychologist Daniel Wegner. It suggests that when we try to suppress a (negative) thought or an idea, we tend to think about it more—making it difficult to avoid.
Positive and negative paths
The same principle can be applied to a victorious Christian life. If we focus solely on the obstacles or challenges, we will struggle to find a forward path. For example, A snow skier will not go to a tree or shrub because he focuses only on the snow path, not on the obstacle.
Like the “White Bear theory,” the Bible tells us to focus on the positive and dwell on these things. In Jewish tradition, “Simcha” is central to celebrations that mean joy or happiness. It’s a spiritual obligation to cultivate gratitude and find contentment in everything.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable; if there is any moral excellence and praise—dwell on these things.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
2. Our obedience delights God
Ultimately, the source of true joy is God alone. Trials will still come, but when we obey, it delights God, and He showers those who follow Him with peace and understanding. Therefore, one interesting key to happiness is knowing God delights in us.
The joy of the Lord is your strength.
1 Samuel 15:22
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
3. Exercise to pump up dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel motivated or happy. Shopping or social media likes can also trick our brains into producing dopamine. But this kind of joy is fleeting.
Exercise such as brisk walking every day has been shown to increase dopamine release in the brain.
God designed us to work (exercise) and eat healthy food, boosting our dopamine. Some supplements may assist dopamine production, but ultimately, it’s a combination of a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, exercise is linked to happiness. [NIH; Laminine]
Thus, focus, obedience to the Bible, and exercise, according to science, are key ingredients to being happy.
Faith, obedience, & exercise are key to being happy.