Study: Key to happiness is having friends at church – Chicago Sun-Times

Study: Key to happiness is having friends at church

’ + first_letter + ’ Dec 8, 2010 12:26AM

Attending religious services regularly and having close friends in your congregation are keys to having a happier, more satisfying life, a new study finds.

Even attending irregularly increases a person’s sense of well-being, as long as there is a circle of friendships within the community and a strong, shared religious identity, according to the study reported in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

Numerous studies have shown that religious people report a higher level of well-being compared with the non-religious, says Chaeyoon Lim, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who’s the lead author of the study.

Lim’s study finds that when people with similar levels of attendance are compared, the key factors determining happiness are the social aspect of religion and a shared religious connection. He says that “90 percent of the correlation between church attendance and life satisfaction can be explained if you have these close interactions.”

Gannett News Service

I don’t find the results of this study very surprising. The times in my life where I have been most contented have been when I am plugged in with a group of people who all have each other’s backs. I think Jesus traveled with a small group of guys who were close to him for this very reason. He was modeling community at its smallest level.

It’s not always easy to find time for others with the busyness of life, but it is vital. Tif and I have made a point of being more intentional about relationships and building ourselves into the community at our church and I think it’s safe to say that we have both been happier because of it.

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