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New research shows religious people are happier

Religious people are happier than those without spirituality in their life, and those who celebrate Christmas according to its original Christian meaning are more content than those Christmas focus is on consumer gifts.

This is the conclusion of psychologist Dr Stephen Joseph from the University of Warwick in the UK.

Dr Joseph's research paper, titled "Religiosity and its association with happiness, purpose in life, and self-actualisation", is published in the journal Mental Health, Religion & Culture.

The study also reveals a more general positive connection between religiosity and happiness. It suggests the reason for this is that religious people have more of a sense of purpose in their lives than non-religious people.

101 people (57 males and 44 females) completed questionnaires to measure Attitudes Towards Christianity, Happiness, Purpose in Life, to assess the link between Christianity and happiness.

But Dr Joseph added that it is important to note that religious beliefs are only one path to finding a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.

He said: "Those who put less emphasis on striving for financial or material success in their lives and instead focus more on fostering their sense of community, for example by donating money to charity, helping others, or those who strive to have good personal relationships, tend to be happier whether or not they are religious.

"What seems to be important is living your life in a way that emphasises the importance of being involved in your community and caring for people, and Christmas is a reminder to us all of this message."

New research shows religious people are happier (Independent Catholic News 9/12/03)

Psychology Researcher Says Spiritual Meaning Of Christmas Brings More Happiness Than Materialism (University of Warwick Media Release 8/12/03)
Mental Health, Religion & Culture

10 Dec 2003