By JR on Wednesday, March 28, 2012
If you want to cheer yourself up, you could do a lot worse than attend church services, according to the findings of a recent poll. A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that people who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque frequently report experiencing more positive emotions and fewer negative ones in general than do those who attend less often or not at all.
Frequent churchgoers experience an average of 3.36 positive emotions per day compared with an average of 3.08 among those who never attend. In other words, regular churchgoers seem to do better than non-churchgoers or occasional churchgoers in terms of their daily positive wellbeing experiences.
The U.S survey based its findings on more than 300,000 interviews.
The positive emotions include smiling and laughter, enjoyment, happiness, and learning or doing something interesting. Negative emotions include worry, sadness, stress, and anger.
Not only do Americans who attend a church, synagogue, or mosque frequently report having higher wellbeing in general, but they also get an extra boost to their emotional state on Sundays - while the rest of the nation sees a decline in their mood.
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The average number of positive emotions frequent churchgoers report experiencing rises to a high of 3.49 for the week on Sundays, whereas for those who attend church monthly or less often, the average number peaks on Saturdays and declines to a range of 3.14 to 3.29 on Sundays. A similar pattern is evident for negative emotions.
Although reports of negative emotions decline on Saturdays for all the population in general, frequent churchgoers still report experiencing still fewer negative emotions on Sundays, while negativity increased on that day for those who attend church seldom or never.
Meanwhile, Sunday is the only day of the week when the moods of frequent churchgoers and those who do not attend a religious service often diverge in direction significantly.
Gallup church poll - days of the week