Happiness v. Joy, Contentment and Peace: Discussion Starter
10.02.2013 posted by AwanaYM
Are we making a bigger deal about happiness that we used to? It sure feels like it. The Internet is crowded with blogs and books about happiness, and researchers have come up with new ways of tracking happiness both domestically and around the world.
It might be revealing to talk with your students about happiness. A good jumping off point could be the United Nations’ 2013 World Happiness Report. According to a story in the LA Times, the report shows that the Earth’s population grew 0.5 percent happier from 2010 to 2012. The United States was the 17th-happiest country, with Denmark coming in at number one and Togo coming in last at number 156.
The results were compiled from surveys conducted with an average of 3,000 people per country, asking about their “overall sense of life satisfaction.” Contributors to happiness were identified as “income, mental and physical health, social support, freedom to make your own choices, being inclined to help others, and living under a government that doesn’t seem corrupt.”
After introducing the topic of happiness to your group, some of the following questions may be helpful in talking about it from a biblical perspective. Consider focusing any Bible study around passages like Psalm 1 (“Blessed in the man who . . .”), Philippians 4 (peace and contentment), or James 1 (choosing joy in trials).