How can we be happy?


I WAS recently invited to speak at a customer service convention on the topic of whether happiness affects an employee’s abilities to offer better customer service.

I taught practical tips on how individuals can seek to be happier because I believe that people who are intrinsically happier are in a better position to offer more attentive care to their clients, are able to listen with more empathy, and ultimately able to secure more customer loyalty because everyone prefers to be around someone with a good attitude over a bad attitude.

As that is a professional audience, I was teaching from a more psychological and sociological perspective. However, as I prepared for those speeches, I studied this topic from a biblical perspective. I thought I would offer a few practical tips to you on this same subject.

God designed our brains with marvellous detail. The more I study neurology, the more amazed I am with just how brilliant we are! Lately, I have been focusing a lot of my attention on studying a particular part of the brain called the reticular activation system (RAS).

A quick Google search defines the RAS: “It acts as the gatekeeper of information between most sensory systems and the conscious mind.”

Let me break down why I am amazed by this cerebral function and why I am more motivated to be obedient to the scriptures as my understanding of this scientific phenomenon deepens.

In layman’s terms, the RAS allows you to focus on what you want to focus on! If you don’t want to hear the noisy train that goes by your house, your brain can actually learn to filter it out! Someone else will come and say: “Gosh! How do you sleep with that train? It is so loud!” And you will think for a minute and say: “I don’t even notice it anymore!” You don’t want to focus on it and your brain is created to literally tune it out.

Let me give you a funny example: I was facilitating a team-building event and someone made a joke about a certain car. Everyone died laughing and I was left in the dark until someone explained that Honda Fit was a popular car on the road and it had a reputation for bad drivers. To that day, I had never heard of it nor noticed a Honda Fit car.

After that day, it seems like I now see them everywhere. I laugh out loud, while driving down the road when a Honda Fit car cuts me off in traffic or speeds past me, thinking how I had missed this before!? I missed it because I had never made a conscious thought to focus on looking for it.

Likewise, bringing it back to the topic of happiness, if you choose to focus on negative characteristics in others, that is what you will see. If you choose to focus on positive aspects, that is what you will also see. Your brain has a filter by which your conscious mind can decide what is important to you. Your sensory systems will then, in turn, seek to find that which your conscious mind prioritises.

Let’s bring this back to the Bible. Let me give you a few verses and then we will break down their relevance to the RAS.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things,” Philippians 4:8

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:31-32

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” Psalms 118:24

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” Philippians 2:3-4

I have realised that if I go about my day with the thought; this is the day God has given me, I am going to choose to rejoice in it. I will find things that are worth rejoicing in. If I choose to focus on that which is true, noble, pure, and praiseworthy, I will see things that are praiseworthy!

If I choose to look for opportunities to serve others and look out for their interests and not just my own, then I find myself making selfless decisions rather than selfish decisions. And lastly, if I ask God for the strength throughout the day to be kind and forgiving to others, I actually am not fazed by the rude person I encounter because it gives me an opportunity to be kind and forgiving.

My point is this: I believe that when we live our lives with intentional efforts to think about good thoughts and look for the good in people, we will see the good in the world around us. In business, especially in customer service, you will encounter a lot of challenging people, but your decision on how you will think about them and treat them is up to you! And I believe the

Bible offers us some practical tips which are in line with what neuro scientists are also teaching us. We choose how we want to see the world. You are in charge of your own happiness!

If you would like to ask me questions about life and what the Bible has to say about it, contact me through my Facebook page Mom to Mom: Parenting Consultations or email

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