- Deseret News - Friday, December 26, 2014

Going to religious services regularly is associated with happiness, says a new study of 15,000 people.

Religious people tend to be happier than nonreligious people, said the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture in Texas.

Its new study found that 45 percent of people who attended religious services every week were “very happy” with their lives.

In contrast, 33 percent of people who attended a religious service “occasionally” said they were “very happy,” while only 28 percent of people who “never” attended a religious service said the same, according to the institute’s new “Relationships in America” survey of some 15,738 adults, aged 18 to 60.

One theory about why religion is often tied to happiness may be “the social support that religious communities can provide,” said the study, prepared by Andrew Litschi, the institute’s director, and his colleagues.

There may be other intangibles in play as well, such as having “a more stable sense of purpose, or an assurance of a benevolent higher power directing the events of their lives,” the study said.

It’s not just religious services that are making people feel happy, another study found.

According Kansas State University (KSU) research, people are happier when they are free to be open about their religion in the workplace.

That study looked at 600 people from a variety of religions, and found that when they’re open about their faith in the office, they have higher job satisfaction and are more productive.

This is especially poignant this time of year, since there are often office parties associated with religious holidays, like Christmas or Hanukkah.

To keep the office happy, “it may be beneficial for employers to go beyond encouraging office Christmas parties by celebrating holidays and festivals associated with a range of religions,” the KSU study said.

“Being able to express important aspects of one’s life can influence work-related issues, such as job satisfaction, work performance or engagement,” said Sooyeol Kim, a doctoral student who took part in the study.

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