When was the last time you heard a homily from your health insurer? As the Church and Christianity in general recedes from public life, one will find more and more secular messages with a truly religious tone. Here is one for you, from my Idaho-based health insurer received this morning, August 29, 2016:
"Hello John, Happiness... you know it when you see it, but it's hard to define. It's more of a journey than a destination, and sometimes we don't have complete control of it. Many scientific studies have found a connection between happiness and physical well-being.
Happiness is shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and lengthen your lifespan. That right there should be enough to start the pursuit of happiness. Not sure where to start?
Check out the 10 simple tips below and try to add a few in each day! 10 Tips to Mastering Happiness:
1. Be present, be here now - when you are fully present in the moment life gets better in every way
2. Live in gratitude - the more grateful you are, the better you feel
3. Hug someone you love - this releases oxytocin which helps your mood
4. Speed time outside - nature calms your nervous system and feeds your soul
5. Be of service - helping others is the quickest route to fulfillment
6. Exercise - even a quick walk works wonders
7. Let things go - try not to get hung up on the negativity and think of 3 positive things in your life
8. Spend more time with people you love - while you are with them give them a hug and help them out with something
9. Meditate - you don't have to be 'spiritual', just close your eyes and focus on your breath
10. Smile - it's contagious
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Sincerely, Blue Cross"
There is nothing wrong with receiving a good message. This message is good but it seemed a bit oddly placed--coming from a health insurer. On one hand it may seem odd. On the other, a bit ironic, but in view of the costs of health insurance, it is in the insurer's best interest to promote wellness.
Note, however, it says, under no. 9, "Meditate - you don't have to be 'spiritual', just close your eyes and focus on your breath." Perplexing to me is the great lengths the insurer takes to avoid anything "spiritual" yet is willing to try and make people more happy. Statistics prove that people who believe in God are happier, more settled, and enjoy life.
That said, where is the joy in life without God? Nemo praesumitur malus, nisi probetur! Mr. John Keenan, O.P. St. Dominic's Store.