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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)










Happiness Skills Theory
(Comprehensive Draft)

By George Ortega

Pleasure, Valuation, Desire, Cognitive Dissonance, Habit, Smiling, Demand Characteristics, and Happiness Increase Experimentation


Click here for a briefer, less comprehensive, draft of H.S.T.


This paper presents a model of subjective well-being , (SWB) called Happiness Skills Theory, (HST) which proposes that state happiness, the colloquial equivalent of SWB, is achieved by the sequential exercise of five separate skills; 1) experience, 2) valuation, 3) anticipation, 4)hedonic acquisition, and 5) habit formation.  The skills apply to, and are presented concurrently with, a model of happiness- increase.   The theory also considers the management of desire an integral element of each of the skills.

 HST additionally proposes that happiness has the characteristics of an attitude, with its most basic element being discrete hedonic cognitions.  Accordingly, a specific methodology is offered that utilizes the intentional creation of cognitive dissonance , (Created Dissonance)  as a method of increasing attitudinal, and thus, state happiness.  By  persistently, repeating to oneself or listening to a tape recording of oneself asserting the counter-attitudinal, absolute statement (or an equivalent variation):  "I am completely happy, completely free of desires..,"  happiness increase is expected to result as the mind reduces the created dissonance by gradually accepting this statement to as great an extent as it can, and rejecting cognitions not concordant with the newly formed consonance.

Additional happiness increase is expected to result from concluding the statement with the phrase (or an equivalent variation):  "...and always smile." which would act as a conditioning prompt designed to create habitual smiling, a behavior research suggests will maintain emotional, and mood happiness, (source) two necessary prerequisites to state happiness.

To facilitate the sound empirical study of happiness, and specifically, of Happiness Skills Theory, and the Created Dissonance method of happiness increase, an analysis of demand characteristics, as they apply to happiness increase experimentation, is offered, along with the proposed recommendation that keeping from subjects the intended purpose of such studies deprives them of at least two important means of increasing one's happiness, desire and anticipation.

Finally, a brief review of published happiness theories and happiness increase methodologies is presented so as to provide rational for the utility of Happiness Skills Theory, and the Created Dissonance method.

State happiness has been described as having 4 components, (DienerXX); 1) presence of pleasant affect, 2) absence of unpleasant affect, 3) domain satisfaction, and 4) global satisfaction.  Evidence of smiling, the behavior most expressive of the emotion, mood and state of happiness, has been found to occur in-uteri (XX).  Over 90 percent of few-day-old infant smiles occur during REM sleep (XX), suggesting that happiness is an innate, endogenous experience. *Footnote?  A question arises whether the pleasure experienced  by infants results from the cognitive appraisal of experiences accessed through REM sleep, and otherwise, or from a more basic endogenous mechanism.  While an important consideration, it is held by the author to be beyond the scope and focus of this present paper.

 Post-natal happiness, however, appears to be an increasingly learned state resulting from what HST considers the implementation of the aforementioned five distinct sequential skills.  Since a very close relationship exists between these skills, and the skills necessary for happiness increase, the following section will present and explain both concurrently.  The following two considerations will also be addressed during this section; 1)  By what means are these five skills best accomplished?  and 2)  What are the essential elements necessary to such accomplishment?

 For Post-natal happiness to occur, individuals must first accomplish the first happiness skill of experiencing the emotion, and mood, of happiness, an apparently universal ability, (Ekman), and thereby fulfill the first above mentioned happiness component requirement- presence of pleasant affect.  Differences in frequency of smiling among infants (source), and differences in the amount of electrical activity in the left pre-frontal cortex, one of the brain's pleasure-related centers, (source) both suggest that individuals differ in this ability.  It has not yet been determined whether one's level of success in experiencing the emotion, and mood, of happiness ultimately determines the amount of state happiness one will experience 

Also, while a certain level of proficiency with this skill may not be directly necessary for increasing one's level of happiness, (like initial level of muscle strength is not a factor necessary to subsequent success at increasing muscle strength), proficiency at this skill may, none-the-less, prove essential to achieving greater happiness because it may prove essential to success with the second happiness skill, valuation.  While it would, presumably, be more difficult to value sufficiently what one has only marginally experienced, one may greatly value one's happiness regardless of how successfully one feels it (similar to how one may value one's money regardless of how much, or how little, one has).  Valuing happiness, the second happiness skill, appears, (aside from experimental settings), to be essential both to achieving, and increasing happiness because it provides the motivation necessary to all subsequent efforts toward these goals.

HST considers hedonic principles such as Freud's Pleasure Principle to imply that one will continually seek to increase one's level of state happiness by seeking increased levels of pleasure and satisfaction.  At no time will one seek to decrease one’s level of pleasure or satisfaction, except as a strategy for securing greater overall pleasure or satisfaction, which one then expects will ultimately result in a higher level of happiness.

 The hedonic principle ensures that we all value happiness above all else, however, as we go through life a great irony takes place that confounds our happiness-seeking and valuing nature.  We tend to gravitate toward specific strategies that we believe will make us happier, and begin to pursue them more fervently than happiness itself.  Many of these strategies, unfortunately, are virtually ineffective, and so our efforts toward greater happiness are stifled.  For example, having more money is what most American believe will best make them happier, yet forty years of research demonstrates clearly that, above the poverty line, becoming wealthier has little power to increase their happiness. (sources)

Thus, valuing happiness sufficiently means valuing it above these various ineffective strategies, which tend to deplete our limited time and energy.  In other words, we must always "keep our eye on the prize."  By recognizing clearly that greater happiness is our most basic, and strongest, desire we can summon the motivation necessary to achieving this foremost goal.

 An important element of valuation, is recognizing that happiness is one's fundamental desire.  Cultural and tradition, however, often subvert this understanding by presenting success, marriage, money, beauty, power, and other popular goals, as  more enticing than happiness.    Also, certain life circumstances, like being raised by unhappy parents who may envy and punish their child's happiness, may limit the degree to which one will safely value happiness. Another important element to valuing happiness is recognizing the benefits it brings. 

 Most of us will intuitively desire happiness, and acknowledge that it enhances our relationships, our work, and our health, etc, as suggested by a growing body of empirical evidence, (Lyubomirsky).   However, the 69 percent mean level of happiness in The United States, (Seligman), one of the happiest countries in the world, the 54 percent of the time Americans spend being happy (Seligman), and the fact that at any given time 25 percent of Americans are actually depressed all suggest that an intuitive desire for, and appreciation of the benefits of,  happiness may not sufficiently motivate the efforts needed for its increase.  As life experience, at the present time, does not provide most individuals with sufficient desire for, and recognition of the benefits of, happiness, direct purposeful education in these areas becomes the only viable means by which these ends may be attained.

 Both acknowledging happiness as our principle desire, and recognizing its benefits can be taught institutionally by incorporating such knowledge into children's educational curriculums.  For adults, and for programs designed specifically to raise individuals' levels of happiness, classroom instruction, supplemented by readings and discussion, should prove effective in teaching these elements of happiness valuation.

Once one values the experience of happiness sufficiently, one must possess confidence that, through effort, one can succeed at re-experiencing, and increasing, it before one will be sufficiently motivated to actively pursue it.  The need for Anticipation, the third happiness skill, as such a necessary requirement is suggested by (source - Desires encly article's) finding that desires, happiness, of course, being a desire, must be deemed within reach in order for them, and the ensuing motivation to achieve them, to be sustained and actively sought.

 Also, again, cultural conditioning may not sufficiently provide one with such confidence.  Many people have the belief that happiness cannot be increased (source), and, at present, too few happiness-increase studies have been conducted to, with authority, earn public confidence that consciously pursuing, and increasing one's level of happiness, are tenable goals.

 Notwithstanding, several happiness increase experiments (sources) have succeeded in raising subjects level of happiness approximately 25 percent in as few as two to four weeks, and after 2 1/2 months of happiness training, subjects reported a mean increase of 12 percent nine to eighteen months after such training had ended.  Thus, in experimental settings, the skill of anticipation, as with valuation,  has been demonstrated to not be required.  Further progress in happiness-increase experimentation is necessary in order to provide sufficient evidence to non-subjects that their efforts to seek, and increase,  happiness will, in fact, succeed.   As with valuation, classroom instruction presenting the encouraging results of past happiness-increase experimentation should succeed in fostering the necessary anticipation in non-subjects.

 The next, and most important, happiness skill is pleasure acquisition.  Happiness is a desire, as are it's four components.  One desires to experience pleasure, not experience displeasure, find satisfaction with the various domains of one's life like work and family, and with one's life as a whole.  While satisfaction appears to have cognitive, judgment based components, it too appears to be ultimately sought because of the pleasure satisfaction provides. (Veenhoven)  Thus, the essence of happiness, and of the pleasure acquisition skill is the gratification of desires.  It should be noted that the most basic human motivation is not pleasure itself, but rather the desire for pleasure.  Unfortunately, desire has yet to receive sufficient attention in psychology; the term is actually omitted from many dictionaries and encyclopedias of psychology, (as is, no less importantly, the term "pleasure."

 In order to acquire, or gratify one's desire for pleasure one must seek two distinct and diametrically opposed means.  The first is the direct gratification of our desires by the following strategies; 1.  hedonic focus, 2. hedonic selectivity,  3. cognitive appraisal of internal and external stimuli. 4. meditation techniques like mantra repetition, and 5. sensory mechanisms.  The second is by the minimization of desires that are unessential, and often distracting to the acquisition of pleasure.  Overcoming these anhedonic desires creates pleasure through success at this effort, and by nullifying the unpleasantness naturally inherent in every anhedonic desire.  Further research is necessary in order to determine whether eliminating anhedonic desires is a strategy that, on its own, is capable of acquiring enough pleasure to achieve state happiness.  Through these two ways, one experiences happiness, and through the accumulation of such experiences, state happiness and its increase.

The most basic strategy by which one acquires pleasure is hedonic focus, or attention.  It is this selectivity of consciousness that enables the emotion of happiness to be temporally extended to become a mood, and ultimately a state.  The essential task of hedonic focus is to stay attuned to pleasure, and not be distracted by other stimuli that represent potential means to happiness such as success, approval, etc.  In fact, the only other focus that must be continually maintained is a focus on judgment; a mechanism Freud referred to as the Reality Principle (source).  Since one’s basic desire is as extensive, and enduring, an experience of happiness as possible, one must continually ascertain that the acquisition of certain specific pleasures do not, in the long run, result in decreased overall happiness.  Not eating beyond the point of satiation is an example of such judgment designed to prevent the displeasure of an overtaxed digestive system.

Along with hedonic focus, one also hedonically selects one's experiences in order to maximize opportunities for experiencing happiness (make distinction between happiness as emotion and pleasure, and incorporate throughout this section).  While life will often impose upon us various situations that might not be naturally conducive to one’s happiness, as with some kinds of work, one is afforded a measure of opportunity in choosing one’s activities, and thus one's opportunities for creating pleasant cognitions.

 Hedonic selectivity is contingent upon one's unique personality and upon available options.  For example, an extroverted individual will seek out opportunities to be with others because these situations provide the opportunity to use the pleasure acquiring abilities inherent in the trait, extroversion.  Such a person will, for example, seek out a person to be with, or lacking such an option, a person with whom to converse with over the phone.

 Hedonic appraisal is a third means by which we acquire pleasure.  While much of the stimuli we encounter as a result of hedonic focus and selectivity will induce pleasure, there are many times when un-chosen stimuli will command our attention.  We can experience pleasure from such stimuli by cognitively appraising it in a pleasant manner.  This idea is the hedonic application to the general concept of cognitive appraisal, which goes back to the Greeks (Specify).  Magda Arnold recognized that not just happiness, but all of our emotions can be induced in this manner, (source) and Beck (source) and Ellis (source) used this understanding to develop their cognitive and rational emotive therapies, respectively. (Bem's self- perception). Seligman cites (source) how this strategy is one of two successful psychotherapeutic means of alleviating depression and  Diener (source) extended this principle to form the basis of his Evaluation theory of happiness.

 Hedonic appraisal is essentially an act of will, or a decision, we make to derive pleasure from an experience.  The hedonic principle assures that one will continuously attempt to appraise all stimuli in a pleasure creating manner, unless this goal is being superseded by long-term hedonic considerations of the reality principle.

 At times, however, cultural learning, and other factors, limit success in attaining this goal.  For example, tradition will generally discourage one from hedonically appraising the death of a loved one as a completely pleasant experience.  In these cases one will attempt to apprise the situation as amelioratively as possible by concluding, for example, that “it was for the best, or that the loved one is now "in God’s hands."

 Hedonic appraisal is our most relied upon strategy for acquiring pleasure, (substantiate) because  much of our experience is not chosen.  As such, much of the variance in reported level of happiness likely reflects the varied level of  individuals' proficiency in hedonically appraising reality

 The fourth manner by which one may acquire pleasure is through meditation.  Transcendental Meditation, which entail the silent repetition of a one or two syllable sound (the mantra), has been demonstrated to increase one's level of happiness, presumably by increasing one's level of pleasure. 

 Mindfulness Meditation, which calls upon one to experience reality in an open, non-judgmental, non-directive manner appears to induce a state of mind similar to that experienced during infancy, and especially, in-uteri.  Davidson's (source) research has found that by practicing this type of mediation, subjects have been able to increase the level of activity in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, an area associated with pleasure (source).

 Since the fundamentals of this technique are practiced both during mediation and throughout the rest of one's day, it appears to be a promising mechanism by which to induce and enhance the experience of happiness in individuals.  The essential element of experiencing happiness appears to be?

 A fifth manner by which to get in touch with, and enhance, one's experience of happiness is by expressive behavior, like smiling.  For at least 50 percent of the population, (source), smiling  induces pleasure, and , Laird (source) considers this pleasure a learned response, suggesting that the 50 percent of the population who presently is unable to access happiness by smiling may be conditioned to be able to do so.

The experience of happiness can also be accessed, and enhanced by sensory mechanisms, such as tactile stimulation.  Other manners of creating pleasure include exercise, alcohol, etc, etc. (see emotion induction review)

 Perhaps excluding meditation, sensory mechanisms, and exercise the common element in each of these means of acquiring pleasure is that the mind ultimately experiences pleasure and satisfaction.  It acknowledges, linguistically or otherwise, that "this feels pleasant," and appears to regularly acknowledge that "I am somewhat happy," or perhaps "I am very happy."   (Source) has found that individuals assess their experience and level of happiness at least daily.  These acknowledgements are actually hedonic appraisals of the emotional experience induced by the various strategies, such as hedonic selection and focus, and sensory mechanisms.  The hedonic appraisal, or evaluation, of one's overall experience of pleasure is an integral part of, and eventually leads to, a conclusion regarding one's level, or degree, of happiness.

 Hedonic Will is the last means by which we acquire pleasure.  One can consciously decide to experience pleasure for a select period of time, and this decision will direct one’s hedonic appraisals to derive pleasure, or greater pleasure, from environmental and internal stimuli than would otherwise be possible.  An example of hedonic will is when a bride, guided perhaps by cultural expectations, decides that her wedding day will be the happiest day of her life, and, by act of hedonic will, consciously directs her thoughts and feelings during that day in ways that accomplish her decision.  Laird (source), found that external cue responders will use situations, like parties and funerals, as determinants of the type of hedonic experience they will have.  For example, since parties are evaluated by some external cue responders as events wherein happiness is the appropriate mood, they will, through hedonic will, conform their thoughts and feelings to the presumed hedonic demands of these events.

 The principle underlying hedonic will can be extended from specific experiences, like weddings and funerals, to happiness in general.  Abraham Lincoln once said that "an individual is as happy or as unhappy as he makes up his mind to be," and hedonic will appears to be the mechanism by which this kind of decision is made.  In fact, when applied to happiness, hedonic will creates a decision, or attitude, about happiness.

 Attitudes and happiness have been held as different constructs (source ?), however, there remains considerable divergence as to their proper definitions (cite some differences) (attitudes; ---., happiness---)  While happiness has been described as both a state and a trait (source), it can also be described as an attitude (Veenhoven).  This paper proposes that happiness meets the generally accepted criteria for attitudes in that 1) it is a positive/negative based response to a stimulus, 2) it has affective, cognitive, and behavior components and 3) it has long-term stability (source)

 Essentially, happiness is an evaluative response to one's life that assesses it within a positive/negative continuum.  Happiness' hedonic components; the experience of pleasant affect, and non-experience of negative affect, meet the affective criteria for attitudes.  It's domain and global satisfaction components meet the cognitive criteria for attitudes, and a growing body of empirical evidence describing how greater happiness results in more productivity, better health, etc.(source) indicates that happiness also meets the behavioral criteria for attitudes.

 The validity of happiness' description as an attitude is also suggested by extensive research showing that happiness cannot be demographically compartmentalized. (Diener reviews).

Since income, race, religion, sex, health, occupation and a host of other demographic variables have been shown to correlate only slightly with happiness, (source) and together account for only about 10 percent of the variance in happiness (source), after taking into account the 50 percent of variance attributed to heredity, the remaining 40 percent of factors determining level of happiness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, Schkade) remains as yet unknown, leading Freedman (source) to consider this influence the "secret influence." 

 HST considers happiness' attitudinal nature to be at least partly responsible for this undefined influence.   In other words, part of the reason why one can be rich or poor, male or female, educated or not, intelligent or not, etc. and still be, for example, very happy, is that one can adopt the attitude that  "I am a very happy person," and this attitude will then motivate one's affect, cognitions, and behaviors to maintain consonance with the established "very happy" attitude.

These four skills must then be practiced to the extent necessary for them to be internalized and performed without conscious effort; habit formation, (the fifth happiness skill).   The degree to which individuals succeed with these five skills determines their level of happiness, and the variances in such proficiency gives rise to the variance in level of happiness expressed by different individuals.

 Having succeeded with committing to habit the first four happiness skills, an individual is predisposed by nature to continuously seek to increase his experience of happiness through increasing its emotion, mood, and state manifestations.

 This last happiness skill will ultimately determine how useful and effective hedonic appraisal becomes.  Because our conscious minds are constantly called upon to negotiate environmental demands separate from and distracting to our desire to acquire pleasure, they cannot devote conscious attention to this aim.  By committing such an aim, and its strategies, to habit, individuals are able to simultaneously address hedonic, and other demands.

Once one's repertoire of such selections and appraisals are developed and implemented, they must then be practiced and refined so as to be as effective as possible in achieving, and increasing happiness.   Such proficiency cannot reasonably be delegated to the conscious mind because to do so would unduly distract it from other demands from the environment, so the chosen selections and appraisals must be relegated to habit before they can best be used.

 While habit has been a neglected area of study in psychology (source) James (source) gave it great importance.  Lyubomirsky et al also suggests its importance to happiness.  Habit was understood by James (source) to be the foundation of civilization. ( quote).  It forms an indispensable element in our general strategy toward addressing the demands of life, and it is equally indispensable to the acquisition of pleasure.  Experience, valuation and anticipation of happiness, and hedonic acquisition, as skills, must be relegated to the domain of habit, and success at this last happiness skill is important to state happiness, and its increase.

 (material about the elements of habit as applied to happiness)

There is a philosophical tradition maintaining that individuals will always do what seems good to them ( source).  These actions, which may to other seem unethical, are always justified as correct in the eyes of the individual.  For example, a thief may justify his crimes by citing the apparent unfairness of other individuals having more of something than he does.  Just as an individuals basic drive to do good will not assure that he succeeds at this effort, so will an individual's basic desire to increase his level of happiness not assure such a success.  As stated previously, one's level of happiness, and therefore one's success at happiness-increase, will depend on one’s level of proficiency with the five basic happiness skills.

 The hedonic principle is about acquiring more; more pleasure, and inversely, more freedom from displeasure.  It seems to be cognizant of an absolute, or perfect, pleasure, and is motivated to seek more and more pleasure until, if Nature ultimately allows, absolute pleasure is achieved.  While our present physiology seems to stand in the way of such success, we are none-the-less, pre-disposed to seek as much pleasure as possible. 

 It may appear that certain individuals, like the chronically unhappy, and the depressed, have abandoned such ambition, however, such individuals do, indeed manifest this primal motivation.  Pain will lead very unhappy individuals toward states such as catatonia, and options like withdrawal, and suicide, as potential avenues by which to lessen displeasure, and thereby invite the possibility of greater pleasure.

 Our basic goal of acquiring greater happiness can be subdivided, and quantified as comprising our level of happiness, and the amount of time we spend being happy.  America is one of the happiest nations in the world (source).  However its mean level of happiness over the last ? years has hovered around 7.4?, that at any given time about 25 percent of the population are actually depressed (Seligman), and that the American population is, on average, happy only 54% of the time (Seligman).  These findings suggest that our success at happiness, as a world, is somewhat marginal.

 Such mediocre happiness appears to result from ? factors.  1.  As a world, we have not learned how to successfully increase our level of happiness.  (happiness is not taught in schools or by businesses, and learning through life experience is compromised by societies' limited happiness).  2.  While our primary desire is happiness increase, our strongest desire is often such ambitions as greater money, success, power, and approval (source) many of which have been demonstrated to have little or no effect on one’s level of happiness (source). 

 Lykken and Tellegen (source) found that our level of happiness is, in part, genetically determined.  The current consensus holds genetics responsible for about 50% of the variance in happiness.  Argyle (source) and Diener (source) found that approximately 8-15 % of this variance is attributable to circumstantial factors such as demographics ( age, race, religion), and situational factors such as ?.  Thus, approximately 40% of the variance in happiness is accounted by what Lyubomirsky called “intentional activities (source).

 In 1977, Fordyce (source) conducted the first published study to determine if, by learning to conform their thoughts and activities to those of very happy people, subjects could increase their level of happiness.  After 6 weeks of training, his subjects increased their mean happiness by approximately 25%.  In 1980, Lichter, Haye, and Kammann achieved similar results by having subjects discuss happiness related topics for ? weeks, and Haye (same study) matched these results by having her subjects recite positive self-statements for two weeks.  Fordyce (1983) refined and replicated his 1977 studies and found that 9-18 months after a 2 1/2 month course in 14 fundamentals of happiness, his subjects reported a sustained mean happiness increase of 12 percent.

 More recently Sheldon – Cite more recent studies – see Lyubomirsky

Several researchers have theorized that changes in one's long term level of happiness are not possible because of the genetic influence and due to constraints suggested by adaptation level theory. (source).  (include Cummins)   Along with Fordyce's (1983) demonstration that happiness increase results last 18 months, the empirical case of Tambov (Russia's steady decline in happiness from al level of 70% in 1981 to a level of 40 percent in 1995, however, strongly suggest otherwise.  This dramatic decrease in happiness resulted from social, political, and economic changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union.  These factors fall within the approximately 10% of variance in happiness attributable to circumstances.  Thus, if such a 40 percent decrease in happiness over the course of 14 years resulted from factors influencing only 10% of the variance in happiness, it would follow that much greater changes in level of happiness could result from the 40 Percent of variance in happiness Lyubomirsky et al.attributes to "intentional activity."

(get much more from Lyubomirsky on long term increase)

 In recent years, researchers have revived the study of happiness-increase through various methods.- Cite different methods

 Thus currently we have mounting empirical evidence that happiness increase is possible through a variety of methods and programs.  What we are lacking, however, is a theoretical model of happiness increase that isolates the influences responsible for such increase, and establishes a blueprint for further refinements and improvements of such studies.

 Earlier I presented the basic components of such a model, comprising the same stages outlined for the happiness skills theory.  Following, I present more detailed and specific elements and considerations, based upon the above, by which happiness may most effectively be increased.

 (Section on inducing the experience of happiness through various mood enhancing techniques, therapeutic methods, tactile stimulation and mindfulness meditation)

 We now return to the first observed instances of this skill in infant smiling, and recall that such smiles occur almost exclusively during REM sleep (source), and that REM is the sleep stage wherein we dream most often, and most lucidly.  From these observations, we may extrapolate that 1) happiness is fundamentally an endogenous experience, and any degree of reliance it may have on environmental stimuli can be accessed through memory.  In other words, if infants are relying on external stimuli in order to create their happiness-evoking dream images, this influence need not be direct, and can be utilized as images stored in memory.

 Our second extrapolation is derived from research in the ability that bodily expression has to evoke emotional experience.  ---- and --- (source) and Darwin (source) first proposed this hypothesis scientifically, however, the idea goes back to at least --- when the Greek philosopher --- stated that ---- (source).

Having been neglected for --- years, SylvanTompkins  revived it, and Laird (1974source) provided the first empirical evidence that expression can generate emotion.  Over the next --- years research into this phenomenon focused on facial expression (sources), and what came to be known as the facial feedback hypothesis (source) eventually accumulated enough evidence to gain general acceptance (see reviews).

Laird (1984 source) however, found that only 50 percent of his subjects experienced emotional responses to their facial and other expressive behaviors.  Laird labeled such behaviors as smiling, frowning, and body posture internal cues (source), and found that the remaining 50 percent of his subjects were able to evoke emotional responses from external cues, such as come from one’s environment.   For example, external responders, as he labeled them,  would go to a party, and because a party is an occasion wherein which one is expected to feel happy, in fact feel happy. 

Using Bem's self perception theory (source) as his basis, Laird suggested that both internal and external cue reliance were learned behaviors (source) ----look for evidence of trying to teach people to become internal cue responders – classical conditioning?

 Applying these results to the experience of happiness, we can infer that, at least for 50 percent of the population, smiling has become a conditioned response evoking happiness, and can be relied upon to evoke and sustain this experience.  In fact, Laird (source) extended the time frame of initial facial feedback hypothesis experiments from an average – (source) to --- (source) , and found that the resulting emotional responses lasted at least --- minutes after the smiling ended.