As I have mentioned before, I am in the midst of writing and fine-tuning psychology courses for high school students at Enlightium Academy. In the textbook, Psychology in Modules, Dr. David Myers (who does confess to be being an evangelical Christian) and Dr. Nathan DeWall write that happiness, like most things, is genetically influenced. However, something being genetically influenced rather than genetically determined is very different (this is a very important point in relation to the nature-nurture debate around being gay). Following this statement, they then provide the following list of 11 “research-based suggestions” for improving happiness-levels and one’s overall satisfaction with life (which bears a loose similarity with Aristotle’s eudaimonia).
- Realize that enduring happiness may not come from financial success (486).
- Take control of your life (486).
- Act happy (486).
- Seek work and leisure that engage your skills (486).
- Buy shared experiences rather than things (486).
- Join the “movement” movement (exercise; 486).
- Give your body the sleep it wants (487).
- Give priority to close relationships (487).
- Focus beyond self (487).
- Counts your blessings and record your gratitude (487).
- Nurture your spiritual self (487).
I found this list refreshing because in a sense, you could say that the social sciences are providing scientific evidence for what God has revealed about the human person so long ago. And, at least for Christians, this should not be surprising. With the doctrine of God as Creator at the heart of our faith, all of reality should reflect His nature and wisdom (as revealed in the Bible as well as other places) because everything was created by Him and through Him (John 3:3 “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being…) .