What Makes You Happy?

Posted: July 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

The ABC recently had a focus on mental health and invited its listeners to nominate their favourite feel-good music. At the end of the nomination period our national broadcaster had a playlist of the top-feel good songs, compiled from many hundreds of nominations.

Leading the list of “Good Vibrations – the songs that make you happy”, was Katrina and the Waves, 1983 hit, Walking on Sunshine. I didn’t nominate a song, but if I had it probably would have been the Dire Straits hit, “Sultans of Swing”. That apparently didn’t make the list but for me it releases more dopamine than John Paul Young’s “Love is in the Air” which came in at about no.20

Many academic studies have shown how important music is in impacting our brain function and eliciting various emotional responses including happiness. For most of us, it doesn’t require an academic study to press the play button and to know how it feels to listen to our favourite music.

The search for happiness leads us in all sorts of directions, but there are times when even our favourite song can’t pull us out of that dark place we have fallen into. Most people who are looking for happy song won’t pull out their favourite Leonard Cohen album, but Cohen may have hit the nail on the head in his “Anthem” when he said, “there’s a crack in everything, and that’s how the light gets in”.

The Biblical writer, James put it this way: When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  James certainly saw the opportunity for the light to shine through the smallest crack and dispel the darkness of hopelessness.

One of the leading evangelical theologians of the 20th century, J.I. Packer passed away a few days ago, Packer is quoted as having said: “The way to be truly happy is to be truly human, and the way to be truly human is to be truly godly.”

Keep playing your favourite happy songs, enjoy the garden and the open air, play a sport, ride the waves and read a book. Do all you can to enjoy life and find comfort from those things that make you happy. But remember that happiness doesn’t usually appear in the quest for happiness, but in the quest for something much greater. 

  1. Grace says:

    Well said Rob. Those cracks made me think, it’s The cracks in us that let the light shine out too.

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