Attending Religious Services Makes People Happier, Survey Finds

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re down in the dumps and not feeling especially happy about anything, a trip to a religious service could be the thing that puts you in a better mood.

Findings in the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows people who attend services at a church, synagogue or mosque frequently experience more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions than folks who attend less often or never at all.

Researchers conducted the survey by asking at least 1,000 Americans each day about the positive and negative emotions they experienced the previous day.

Positive emotions include smiling and laughter, enjoyment, happiness and learning or doing something interesting.

Negative emotions include sadness, worry, stress and anger.

Overall, 52 percent of Americans reported experiencing none of the four negative emotions the previous day, but 30 percent did report experiencing two or more of them.  Nearly five percent said they experienced all four in one day.

Similarly, 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing all four positive emotions at least once in any given week.  Four percent experienced none of the positive emotions the previous day, and about five percent experienced only one positive emotion.

The survey, which is based on interviews with more than 329,000 U.S. adults, found that frequent church-goers average 3.36 positive emotions per day compared to an average of 3.08 among people who never attend.

In addition, frequent church-goers also report experiencing a mood boost on Sundays while most other Americans see a decline in their mood.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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