Happiness in the Highlands

The Bank of Scotland’s annual happiness survey indicates today that the Highlands and Islands is the happiest region in which to live in Scotland.

Some of us have known this for some time. Indeed, Inverness, the capital of the Scottiish Highlands was voted the happiest place in Scotland in 2014. The same year, Llandrindod Wells was identified as the happiest place to live in Wales. A happy thought for my readers is that the leader of the Scottish Christian Party lives in Inverness and the leader of the Welsh Christian Party lives in Llandrindod Wells. A piece of serendipity.

For several decades I have pointed out to tourists in Inverness that Loch Ness flows into the River Ness, which reaches the sea at Inverness, a place where happiness is preached. The concept may have reached opportunistic ears and Happyness, the Inverness Comedy Festival, began in the summer of 2012 but its Facebook page today suggests that it has not been active since 2016.

Possibly there is a lesson here. Happiness does not arise from Comedy, which is a method to generate artificial happiness. Only today T in the Park, a method of generating temporary happiness, reported that it will not revive. It was Scotland’s largest festival, last held in 2016, and its demise is in line with the cessation of Rockness last held in 2013, one of the Highlands’ annual festivals. Artificial happiness comes to an end and people need to look for something more enduring as its basis.

Happiness is an elusive concept and it is not confined to locality. Indeed 18-24 year olds have a lower Happiness Index over the last year. Nor does happiness come with age. There are many unhappy old people, not only in Scotland but around the world. Happiness can be measured in many different ways. In 2016 those who worked from home were the happiest workers in Scotland. Travelling to work, and bullying and discrimination in the workplace make many people unhappy.

Depression and happiness are related to expectations and satisfaction.

Expectations can be unrealistic and dashed hopes increase unhappiness. In 2018 happiness levels in Scotland had risen for the third year in a row. This is good but is it sustainable?

Christian hope and happiness

The Christian hope and expectation does not change with the economy nor one’s social circumstances. Indeed the Bible says: ‘Better is the poor who walks in his uprightness, than he who is perverse in his ways, though he be rich’ Pro 28:6. The poor and persecuted person with Christian hope and expectation in the Lord Jesus Christ is rich indeed. Indeed, they are described ‘As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all thing’ 2Cor 6:1.

‘Has God not chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him.’

Jam 2:5.

Jesus Christ gives hope to the miserable and lifts up their spirit. He tells us who are the Happy or Blessed people in His well-known Beatitudes Mat 5:3-11.

The first word to sing in the Bible’s hymnbook is Happy: ‘Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful’ Psalm 1:1. The reason for this is because ‘godliness is profitable for all things, having promise for our present life and for that which is to come’ 1Tim 4:8.

The Rev. Lachlan Mackenzie, Lochcarron, put it like this:

The Happy Man

The happy man was born in the city of Regeneration in the parish of Repentance unto Life.

He was educated in the school of Obedience and lives now in Perseverance, where he has a large estate in the country of Christian contentment.

He many times does jobs of self-denial, wears the garment of Humility, and has another suit to put on when he goes to Court called the Robe of Christ’s righteousness.

He often walks in the valley of Self-abasement, and sometimes climbs the mountains of Heavenly-mindedness.

He breakfasts every morning on spiritual prayer
and sups every evening on the same.

He has meat to eat that the world knows not of, and his drink is the sincere milk of the Word of God. Thus happy he lives and happy he dies.

Happy is he who has Gospel submission in his will, due order in his affections, sound peace in his conscience, real divinity in his breast, the Redeemer’s yoke on his neck, a vain world under his feet and a crown of glory over his head.

Happy is the life of that man who believes firmly, prays fervently, walks patiently, works abundantly, lives holy, dies daily, watches his heart, guides his senses, redeems his time, loves Christ and longs for glory.

He is necessitated to take the world with him on his way to heaven, but he walks through it as fast as he can, and all his business by the way is to make himself and others happy.

Take him all in all, in two words – he is a Man and a Christian.

The Happy Man, Lachlan Mackenzie

The route to happiness and peace of conscience for those who are interested.

6 thoughts on “Happiness in the Highlands

  1. I have always thought Glasgow was smiles better than anywhere else to live in in Scotland, I have to agree whenever we visit the Highlands including Inverness the locals are always very welcoming indeed. We always get a warm welcome when we visit the Highlands.


    1. Donald

      Glasgow’s intellectual contribution to the world is immense, but when I moved to the Highlands I learned that I did not need the umbrella that was my constant companion in Glasgow. I am quite happy to admit that “I belong to Glasgow, dear old Glasgow toon.” Thanks for your contributions.


  2. In parts of Inverness when it snows because its so high up its very difficult to get about because the gritters do not seem to be able to grit the side roads and also there are very few pavements especially on the back road to Nairn.


    1. Donald

      David, my first winter domiciled in Farr, by Inverness, in 1983 brought six-foot snow drifts and kept us housebound for several days. We have not seen the like since then in this area, although there are still plenty of snow drifts.


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