Does Religion increase Happiness?

In a U.S. News article by Alexa Lardieri, they discuss and analyze the statistics of actively religious people reporting higher levels of happiness than people who are not religious.

Lardieri mentions:

“A Pew Research Center study of people in 26 countries published on Thursday found that participating members of religious congregations report higher levels of happiness than people who are not part of a congregation, with people in Mexico reporting the highest levels of happiness.”

They go on to explain how there is a trend of 71 percent of actively religious members saying the are very happy, compared to the 61 percent who are not affiliated across the 26 countries researched. This is an interesting finding to me because the question comes to mind is that does religious beliefs and followings make people happier or is it the community and people that make people happier? To what part of religion exactly does religion contribute to one’s happiness? Furthermore, the article discusses the possible relation of the percentage of people who drink and smoke frequently to those who do not and see similar patterns between the two that you would see with people who are religious  and people who are not. Does this mean the religion and drug and alcohol have to juxtapose or is there a middle ground and coming together of the two?

Below is the link to the article: