Posted by: morgan1965 | May 22, 2009

Happiest and Saddest

Are you happy, or are you sad? Perhaps honest answers to the question would reveal that most people experience happiness and sadness in the routine of their living. From a purely mental health perspective, one would want to keep the instances of sadness to a minimum. There are many factors, however, that might contribute to one’s experiences of happiness and sadness. Some factors are stress, climate, health, personal finances, family dynamics, employment status, and fear.

I read a recent article which found that research by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control found a strong correlation between geography and mental issues. That finding might be a surprise to you.

The full study will appear in the June issue of “The American Journal of Preventative Medicine. It “found that people living in the upper Midwest suffer the fewest episodes of frequent mental distress, while those in the Appalachian region are more than twice as likely to suffer such episodes.”

You no doubt will want to ponder a key finding as I did. “Residents of Kentucky and West Virginia in particular suffer greater distress than most Americans, while those in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska appear to live in greater tranquility.” There are, of course, many factors related to the matter of happiness and sadness.

What role do United Methodist congregations have to play in this arena? A first role is awareness and education about the issues. A second role might be to explore and develop an appropriate ministry of response. What do you think? Is this a matter of concern for United Methodist congregations and pastors?

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