What is the secret to happiness?
The list of nominees is the same for almost everyone: income, health, family, success.
Results of a Harvard study, however, indicate that the answer is none of the above.
What is it, then?
Volunteering to help others. Another way to say it: Serving.
Research conducted by Dr. Eric Kim concludes that people over the age of 50 who volunteer to help others for at least two hours a week have a higher sense of well-being than those who don't.
And it goes beyond a sense of well-being. Helping others is a catalyst toward other lifestyle benefits, such as lower risk of early death, a lesser chance of health-related complications, and increased physical activity.
Dr. Kim says that serving others doesn't just strengthen communities, it also "enriches our own lives by strengthening our bonds to others, helping us feel a sense of purpose and well-being, and protecting us from feelings of loneliness, depression and hopelessness."
Maybe this is one reason why Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than receive: Your gifts of service to others come back your way, in full measure, even running over. (Acts 20:35, Luke 6:38)
In the words of King Solomon, "Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25)
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Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.