According to a scholar in seasonal disorders at a British university you should feel happier than you have all year today. Cliff Arnall has analyzed such factors as outdoor activities, nature, social interaction, childhood memories, temperature and holidays — data gathered over a period of nearly 20 years in interviews with thousands of people around the world. His conclusion is that for 2008 today, June 20th, is the happiest day of the year. "People across borders experience happiness when they meet with friends and family and establish close social relationships," the University of Cardiff academic reported. "We need some close emotional ties." He used what he considers a "simple equation" to reach his conclusion — O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He. O stands for outdoor activities, N for nature, S for social interaction, Cpm for childhood summers and positive memories, T for temperature and He for holidays and looking forward to time off.
Because I have written a lot about civility I am trying to be kind about this formula. Would it be impolite to suggest that I also have a formula about trying to determine the happiest day of the year? Mine would be something like this. P (H) = TN. P for predicting, H for happiness, TN for Total Nonsense. I guess the grumpy old man factor came out there. I can understand how summer time, family, memories, and so on would lead to potential happiness. I also realize this is not hard science and a fun argument so please hold your cards and letters.
Why I am a bit skeptical of circumstance based formulas for happiness? Because I am beginning to figure out that you can have joy even when circumstances wouldn’t necessarily reflect that emotion. Circumstances might dictate that today is far from the happiest day for you. Joni and I have traveled a difficult journey over the past three years as we navigated her breast cancer battle.
We found joy in this formula. J + P + (F x L) + T = Joy.
J is for Jesus, P is for Prayer, F is for friends, L is for laughter, and T is for trust. The formula works for us.
The Psalmist wrote these words.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
He has made both June 20th and the 364 less happy days that are envious of today. But I am actually okay with calling this the happiest day of the year for me. Because I am choosing to follow the instruction of Nehemiah to Ezra. You might remember these words from a Sunday School song.
For the joy of the LORD is your strength
Circumstance will too often rob you of joy. The airline industry certainly does their part. But you can choose joy in the Lord today. Mix liberal does of Jesus, prayer, friends and laughter together. Trust that it will work. Repeat tomorrow.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of
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