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 21 Ways to Become Happier

12 Ways to a Happier World

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Michael W. Fordyce, 12/14/44 - 01/24/11, whose pioneering work created the happiness movement we enjoy today.  Heaven and Earth are happier places because of you.  Thanks, Dr. Fordyce, and stay happy forever and ever!  Dr. Fordyce's site at the Internet Archive

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Key Happiness Facts

World's Happiest Countries (2004):
1. Nigeria
 2. Mexico
 3. Venezuela
 4. El Salvador
 5. Puerto Rico
 (U.S. ranks 16th)

Countries with Highest Levels of Subjective Well-Being (2004):
1. Puerto Rico
 2. Mexico
 3. Denmark
 4. Columbia
 5. Ireland

Click here for the complete ranking and more information

Americans consider happiness more important to them than money, moral goodness, and even going to Heaven.

Americans are, on average, only 69 percent happy.

The world population is, on average, less than 65 percent happy.

37 percent of the people on Forbes list of Wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American.

At any given time, one forth of Americans are mildly depressed

14 percent of the nations on Earth are less than 50 percent happy.

Happiness Increase Experiments published in peer review journal have empirically demonstrated that individuals can be trained to be 25 percent happier through various training programs in from two to ten weeks.

All demographic variables combined, including age, sex, income, race, and education, are responsible for only 15 percent of the difference in happiness levels between individuals.

American Children feel happy 52 percent of the time, neutral 29 percent of the time, and unhappy 19 percent of the time.

Americans' personal income has increased more than 2 1/2 times over the last 50 years, but their happiness level has remained the same.

Americans earning more that $10 million annually are only slightly happier than average Americans.

(Click here for Citations and a Brief Paper on How our World Can Become Much Happier)










Why Dr. Michael Fordyce is our world's
top Happiness Researcher

Dr. Fordyce's GetHappy.Net site at the Internet Archive

Dr. Fordyce's booklet "The Psychology of Happiness"

The following selection from Michael Fordyce's book, Human Happiness, (Volume II, Chapter 2) reveals why Dr. Fordyce is, unquestionably, the world's top happiness researcher, and why his 1977 and 1983 happiness-increase studies remain the most progressive and inspired works in the field:

In many ways, the basic research picture regarding personal happiness was fairly solidified in the mid 1970's. The view that psychologists had then, concerning the nature of happiness and the characteristics of happy people, has actually changed little since then. Certainly, as the interest in this field has grown -- and the research base expanded -- studies over the decades generally have served merely to confirm and reconfirm the basic view of happiness we held years ago (and that we outlined in the precious Volume). Of course there have been refinements, but the original picture remains, by in large, the same.

There came a time in my own research career, around 1974 or 1975, when it occurred to me that the time had come for happiness studies to depart into a new realm. Up till then all happiness investigations (including my own) had dealt with "basic" research: examining the phenomenon of happiness to learn more about it. But it appeared to me that enough of a background had already been established to move to the next order of research, "applied" research: utilizing what is known to develop practical, everyday applications.

Science inevitably marches in this direction -- from the "basic" (sometimes called "pure science") to the "applied." No matter what the topic of study, every piece of scientific knowledge, eventually, is ultimately useful. In some areas of science, the potential use may be hard to imagine or even realize in the pioneering stages of investigation, but in sciences like medicine and psychology, research has an obviously applied aim.

For example, in the medical study of cancer I doubt there are any researchers who would maintain that their interest in this disease is "purely" academic. Certainly cancer-cell physiology is scientifically interesting, but the main reason medical researchers examine it is their hope that something they might discover could eventually be part of a cure for this dread disease.

Those of us who study human happiness, naturally, have the same thing in the back of our mind. As academically fascinating as it is to understand happiness for its own sake, there is always the hope that someday, something we discover in our research might prove helpful to average people in a practical sense. Our psychological colleagues who study schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other illness syndromes obviously have the same goal in mind. "Basic" research in these areas are often undertaken with the hope that new scientific insights might provide new keys to help improve existing therapeutic techniques -- or even point the way to new treatments.

In essence then, the explicit goal of science is understanding, but the implicit goal of science is the ultimate betterment of the human condition.

In this vein, I and my staff departed from the main- stream of researchers (who continued to study happiness in a "basic" sense) to see if the knowledge we had developed about happiness could be practically applied.

We began with another complete survey of the research literature. We included every scrap of happiness research data we could accumulate (the bulk of which was surveyed in Volume I of this set of books). But this time our survey was a little different than it had been before. This time, instead of looking at all the elements which contributed to happiness, we were more selective. We were looking for qualities and characteristics about happy people we believed average people could employ to increase their own happiness -- things that might be used in an experiment to see if average people could possibly improve the happiness they experienced in life. But, especially, we were looking for things that ordinary people might be able to develop in a short time-frame.

We were looking for simple, everyday things -- any personality quirks, any special attitudes, anything about their daily routine -- anything at all that an average person might be able to imitate. Was there anything, for example, about the way happy individuals spent their time? Were there any particular daily activities they typically enjoyed? Were there things about their personality that might be helpful? Was there something, perhaps, about their belief systems, their attitudes, or their values? These were the kinds of questions we were asking.

After a while, a list of potential characteristics began to emerge from the data, and we began to formulate the first of our initial experiments to see if it was possible to increase human happiness.

This was a pioneering effort. To our knowledge, these studies would be the first time anyone had attempted to experimentally develop happiness.