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Our Search for Happiness

Posted: January 8, 2016

happiness.2More than anything we want someone, something that makes us happy. If we did a survey of what people wanted most for 2016 their answers would probably be: “I just want happiness.” What in fact we are looking for is a quick injection of serotonin and oxytocin. These are our favourite brain chemicals because they release pleasure, a feeling of well being, accomplishment and happiness.

Our bodies and brains are designed to receive this wonderful feeling of pleasure. We look for it in our circumstances, to our husbands, our jobs and too often from our social media posts. We love the sound of the ping on our phones, the number of likes on our Facebook posts, the flash of a new text or the swoosh of our inbox telling us we have new mail. Those circumstances make us feel good and serotonin is released. When we begin a new relationship, one that makes us laugh, engages us in new adventures, open our minds to new ideas we feel intense pleasure and oxytocin is released. The ultimate, highly addictive pleasure drug.

But many people lack the solid connection of fulfilling relationships or have become isolated behind their computer screens and feel alone, sad and unhappy. But we need happiness and so more and more people are turning to drug chemicals that will provide that same pleasure. Cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, eating, and shopping. Anything to feel better.

My heart breaks when I hear about all the unhappy people because we were not designed to live like this. In the caveman days, the Homo sapiens had no jobs, education, supermarkets and no heating in winter and air-conditioning in summer. They were dirt poor. They daily task was about survival. They lived in small communities. They had to help one-another. Through the natural process of survival and helping one another, the serotonin and oxytocin chemicals were released to get them through the rough times and give them a sense of belonging.

These days our survival is that we have too much of everything. The more we have the less we value it and our happiness meter drops. We have learned to depend on ourselves; we are living more isolated, lonely lives. Hence no release of oxytocin.   Many people’s days are so full of “busy stuff” and they feel so fatigued and overwhelmed that they either sink into depression or look for the chemicals that will give them a jolt of pleasure. Hence no serotonin.

I believe we have lost our way. Jesus never meant us to live like this. He tells us in John 10:10: “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” So how we find this fullness? This ultimate happiness? Every day you and I have a choice. 1. To orchestrate my circumstances so that I can feel that happiness. Or: 2. I need to recognize that no one in this world is put here to make me happy. Or: 3. Find the source of lasting happiness, which evolves from inner JOY.

There is truly only one way. The Bible gives us this one command: It says: “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself” (Luke 10:27 LIVING).

The fullness of life comes when we first: connect with God and allow His love to flow through us. And secondly to walk out that love in community, helping one-another, encouraging one-another, praying for one-another, blessing one-another and caring for one-another. When we begin to live like this fulfillment will come, joy will follow and happiness will emerge. The pleasure chemicals from our brain will be released and the pleasure is all yours.

In my next post I will show you what this actually looks like.


Posted in: community, fulfillment, happiness, isolated, joy, Pleasure, search, serotonin

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