According to a New York Times article I read which I found very interesting, ("Goodbye Old World, Bonjour Tristesse"-7/7/13), the French people have a high rate of suicide and take more antidepressants than most people in other European countries. A certain malaise and hopelessness has settled over many in France. One person was quoted as saying, "The French people maybe they think too much."
Yes, I have read that too much ruminating over thoughts can cause unhappiness.
Surely there are problems in France and throughout the world which cause unhappiness such as high unemployment. People need to have meaningful work and a job which pays a just wage, otherwise people feel trapped in a downward spiral and experience hopelessness. But that's only one cause of unhappiness.
The French, it seems, are curious about happiness studies (as are Americans and others). I happen to have many books on the subject of happiness and reasons for it. And what I've read about happiness and the way to feel more fulfilled and joyful is to belong to a faith community and to be a person of faith.
Yes, belief in God, religious rituals, prayer and belonging to a faith community helps people to feel more fulfilled, enriched, less isolated and connected to something higher than themself. It helps to give people meaning and purpose in life. And religion helps people to have hope-hope for the future, hope in a merciful, loving God, hope in salvation, hope in an afterlife, in eternal life, all of these give people hope. Religion helps people to search for truth and in finding truth they can find God.
So perhaps the French people (at least the ones who have abandoned faith in God), should embrace religion again. Perhaps the answer to living an enriched and meaningful life is to have faith, to pray, to embrace rituals and have a positive attitude. People need to have hope, to look to the future with hope and belief in God gives that to people.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans15:13)