Opinion: From Pope Francis: 7 secrets to happiness and 5 misery enhancers

Pope Francis: But first, let me take a selfie.

It was Pope Francis who called the Internet a “gift from God,” so perhaps it’s no surprise that his recent remarks on happiness have made their way into the most classic of Web formats: the listicle. To commemorate his first 500 days as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the pontiff spoke at length this week to a news outlet in his native Argentina.

The unconventional pontiff, who often surprises with his off-the-cuff remarks, outlined his recommendations for happiness and also spelled out some no-no’s in an interview with Viva.


1) Do not proselytize. No pushy efforts to convert people to your religion.


2) Do not work so hard. Make time to play with your kids, dabble in art if it moves you, crack open a book for goodness sake.

3) Do not be an introvert. That’s just putrid: “If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

4) Do not watch TV at dinner. Open your mouths for conversation as well as food (politely, we assume).

5) Do not be a jerk to the housekeeper. As a boy, Pope Francis was very fond of a woman who helped his mom with the laundry. “She was as clever as a fox, she had every penny accounted for ... She had many great qualities.” Because of this charming woman, he gained sympathy for domestic staff and said “they must never be exploited or mistreated.”

Now for the pope’s secrets to happiness; we’ve boiled it down to our favorite seven:


1) In Rome, the saying goes “Campa e lascia campa,” or, Francis said, “live and let live.”

2) Give of yourself to others. The pope is a prime example of this. He’s been rumored to sneak out of the Vatican at night to minister to the homeless.

3) Take Sundays off. Sunday equals Family Day.

4) Be pro-peace, and be loud about it. “War destroys,” he said. Peace is “not quiet,” he added. “We must shout out for peace.”

5) Be pro-environment. Humanity may be “committing suicide” by degrading the environment, the pope said.

6) But be calm. Francis advocates “kindness and humility, calmness of life.”

7) And put your feet up. According to the pope, leisure time is an essential ingredient of happiness.

Doing No. 7 right now. Follow me @AmyTheHub