Read the two articles linked below. One is a summary,the other is an in depth discussion of the following eight categories that the author (Roger Walsh) calls TLC’s (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes).

I grew up in a culture that undervalued happiness. It wasn’t the highest virtue by any stretch, it paled comparison to “joy”, and was almost seen as unnecessary, sometimes even seen in a negative light.

“God doesn’t want you to be happy, he wants you to be joyful.”

…many preachers

“Happiness is related to happenings (circumstance) but joy is a more fundamental, lasting expression.”

…many preachers

When I became a parent, I was overwhelmed with the desire that my children were happy. I found it to be the strongest, most regular feeling I wished for them. It was then that I started to challenge my opposition to happiness, and began to elevate it to a higher status and to believe that God wants us to be happy, not just joyful.

It is hard to describe a person as joyful if they don’t express some measure of happiness. Happiness is the outward expression of a joyful heart. I find it funny now that I feel I need to defend happiness!

One of my favorite pictures of Kelly and me – both obviously happy.

If you want to be happy here is an in depth and academically grounded approach (again, read the article below by Roger Walsh). Get ready to be happy.

Eight Categories that Lead to Lifestyle Health

  1. Exercise
  2. Diet/Nutrition
  3. Time in Nature
  4. Contribution & Service
  5. Relationships
  6. Recreation
  7. Relaxation and Stress Management
  8. Religious & Spiritual Involvement

These eight categories have been shown to reduce stress and bring more mental health and stability to people’s lives. They are all within your own control and you essentially need no new outlay of money or time or appointments with professionals to take advantage of them.  So here is a simple process to be healthier, more productive, less stressed, and happier in the next year.

First, evaluate.  As you look at these areas you will automatically see that you are probably not spending near enough time in the areas that will truly contribute to your happiness. 

Second, take each category and pick one new thing that you will do in this area.  For instance, in the category of exercise add one physical activity to your schedule. Don’t shoot for the sky right off the bat, pick a manageable, achievable step.

Third, see if you can’t combine some of the areas.  For instance, physical and relational is an easy match.  “I am going to take a walk twice a week with my husband, wife, friend.” You could even incorporate a third into this:  “ I am going to take a walk with my husband twice a week in nature.”

Fourth, share your goals with a friend, partner, life coach.

Last, stick with it and regularly review, build, adjust, and keep at it.

For further reading

Walsh, R. (2011, January 17). Lifestyle and Mental Health. American Psychologist.

Subscribe to the TempleBlog

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Top Posts

What's TheTempleBlog?

The TempleBlog started as my personal blog in October of 2006 with my first post: John Stott – it was a listing of John Stott quotes.

Now it is a different place. I mostly write about two of my convictions: Pacifism and Racism. But I also offer resources: both digital and personal. 

If you need Bible Study materials, want to take a more serious look at theology via an online course, or want to dialog with me about ministry and what I call Spiritual Construction, fill out the form here and we can connect and see where the relationship goes. 

SBK Productions

KellyBagdanov.com is your online source for Homeschooling Resources and Art History Curriculum. She also offers several unique devotionals which incorporate Art History with the Church Calendar. Check out her upcoming Christmas Devotional series which would work for individuals, families, small groups, and churches. 

More Articles


Book Review: Disarming Scripture

For Jesus, the correct interpretation of Scripture all comes down to how we love. The Bible was never intended to be our master, placing a burden on our back; it was intended to act as a servant, leading us to love God, others, and ourselves.

Read More »

Book Review: Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits is a book based on the premise that lasting change and the establishing of habits is the result of making small but powerful changes. This is the reason the word “atomic” is used: atoms are small but full of energy.

Read More »