The opposite to depression is happiness.
If a person is happy, they are not depressed.
However, happiness should not be confused with laughter.
The circus clown is often the saddest person in town.
Depressed comedians are proverbial.
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Depression has become epidemic.
WHO predict depression will be the most common major disease by 2020.
Wikipedia – The recent hit pop song “Happy” is a neo soul and funk song on which Pharrell Williams’ falsetto voice has been compared to Curtis Mayfield by critics. The song has been highly successful, peaking at number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and 19 other countries. It has sold over 5.6 million copies in the United States and over 1.52 million copies in the United Kingdom, and has reached number one in the latter a record three separate occasions.
Happiness is popular because so many want it, and yet happiness remains so elusive.
Depression and Stress: Several studies have found that high levels of religious commitment correlate with lower levels of depression and stress. [David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health: What Does the Research Show? (Rockville, Md.: National Institute for Healthcare Research, 1992), 76-78
Volume 34, Number 1
Editor: Christine Lee
University of Newcastle
The World Health Organisation’s global burden of disease research indicates that unipolar major depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide in 1990. Furthermore, it predicts that, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death and disability across the world. (Page 49)
The deepest happiness available to any of us is fellowship with Christ.
This communion brings a smile to our soul unobtainable anywhere else in the Universe.
This is being right with your creator, rather than wrong with Him and feeling separated from Him because of our offences against Him.
This joy is the joy of fellowship with Christ Himself.
This is the secret place of Psalm 91.
No-one can remove this or steal it away.
This happiness remains in spite of everything and anything.
It is the wine of fellowship with God Himself.
When we should be drowning in depression, we can be happy in an overcoming attitude because we are connected, fused with a supernatural fusion to Christ Himself the One who rose from the dead, overcoming all hell, hades, demons, sickness, sin and shame.
Dr Martin Seligman is the world’s leading authority on optimism and happiness. He wrote a ground breaking book – Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991) and followed that up with (amongst others) Authentic Happiness (Random House, 2002).
In Authentic Happiness (page 177 & 178) Seligman wrote this about the importance of optimism for achieving high performance:
‘The pessimist views bad events as pervasive, permanent and uncontrollable, while an optimist sees them as local, temporary and changeable. Pessimism is maladaptive in most endeavours: Pessimistic life agents sell less and drop out sooner than optimistic agents. Pessimistic undergraduates get lower grades, relative to their SAT scores and past academic record, than optimistic students. Pessimistic swimmers have more substandard times and bounce back from poor efforts worse than optimistic swimmers. Pessimistic pitchers and hitters do worse in close games than optimistic pitchers and hitters. Thus pessimists are losers on many fronts.’
Optimists are people magnets. People like to be in the company of an optimist. Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman’s research proves that optimistic leaders more easily retain talented people compared to leaders who more often display negative moods.
Optimism and associated good moods create positive feelings about work. Good moods have also been proven to greatly improve people’s speed in; understanding complex information, making effective decisions and thinking more creatively.
Optimism builds resilience. Pessimists as more likely to give up sooner or not to try at all, compared to optimists.
Nelson Mandela is often mentioned in surveys of inspiring leaders. To go through all that he did as a prisoner on Roden Island for over 20 years and come out a free man with no apparent diminishment of his belief in the basic good of all people, shows optimism at its most inspiring.
There are a number of roadblocks to happiness that all of us have to deal with if we want some joy in our lives.
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of depression in people’s minds and lives. I have faced and fought my own battles with depression, but also I have discovered how to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and how to promote positive emotions.
Positive feelings alone are not the root of happiness. If our character is right and our spirit clean, joyfulness is inevitable in our emotional life. To try and medicate our way out of depression and into good feelings doesn’t deal with the roots of the problem.
The truest and most accurate translation of the word ‘Blessed’ when Jesus is presenting the sermon on the mount, is ‘Happy’.
We have a problem with this because we think this is too light a word compared to the word blessed, which sounds so much more sacred.
However, Jesus came to bring us into happiness, not by waving a major wand, but through us being obedient to God.
Ps. Phil has authoured 14 books, one of which is about HOPE. A must read for anybody suffering with depression or feelings of hopelssness. You can order a copy by clicking on the link above.