Happiness Information, Resources, and Over One Hundred Free Online Shows
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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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My most recent 216-episode TV Series - Exploring the Illusion of Free Will
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What is Happiness?

   Why is Happiness so Important?

World's Happiest Countries

Happiness Facts

Happiness Benefits

The APACHE Method (Positive Adjectives Technique and List)

The Ortega Happiness Method

Other Ways of Becoming Happier

Happiness Increase Experiments

Top Happiness Researchers and Promoters

Dr. M. Fordyce

George Ortega's Happiness Skills Theory (2 drafts)

Happiness Books, Papers and Articles

Start a Happiness Show

Happiness-Increase Research and the Artifacts Dilemma

Happiness Research Still Needed

Proposals for Further Refuting Hedonic Adaptation Predictions

The Hey Bill Gates, Start an International Happiness Corporation Campaign

Happiness Increase International

George's Happy World Songs

Humankind's Age of Happiness

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100 Happiness Self-Statements

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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)











In 1977, Dr. Michael Fordyce founded the science of Happiness-Increase by publishing the world's first comprehensive experiment designed to increase personal happiness.  In 1980, the New Zealand team of Lichter, Haye and Kammann conducted their own happiness-increase experiments using different strategies, and in 1983, Dr. Fordyce replicated and refined his initial study.  These three classic papers showed that individuals could be taught to increase their happiness dramatically (an average of 25 percent) through training lasting only a few weeks. A new science was born.

Maximizing happiness is everyone's most cherished personal goal in life.  The science of happiness-increase (distinct from happiness research in general because of its keen focus on helping people to directly and efficiently achieve this goal), is, and always will be, our world's most important science, and our highest scientific endeavor.

Listed below is a collection of happiness-increase experiments that have been published over the years.  Happiness is now a very hot topic in psychology and in the media.  Over next few years, expect more sophisticated happiness-increase methodologies to emerge, and pioneering entrepreneurs to begin using this research to create a new happiness industry.  

Training in Fundamentals of Happiness

Fordyce, M. W. (1977). Development of a program to increase happiness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 24, 511-521.

Click to view a Happiness Show broadband episode describing this paper.
Click to view a Happiness Show dialup episode describing this paper.
Click to hear a Happiness Show 28.8 episode describing this paper.

Fordyce, M. W. (1983). A program to increase happiness: Further studies. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30, 483-498.

Click to view a Happiness Show broadband episode describing this paper.
Click to view a Happiness Show dialup episode describing this paper.
Click to hear a Happiness Show 28.8 episode describing this paper.

       Group Discussion and Happiness Affirmations

Lichter, S, Haye, K., & Kammann, R. (1980). Increasing     happiness through cognitive retraining.  New Zealand   Psychologist, 9, 57-64.

Click to view a Happiness Show broadband episode describing this paper.
Click to view a Happiness Show dialup episode describing this paper.
Click to hear a Happiness Show 28.8 episode describing this paper.




Fava, G. (1999).  Well-being therapy: Conceptual and technical issues. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 68, 171-179.


Fava, G. A., Rafanelli, C., Cazzaro, M., Conti, S., & Grandi, S. (1998). Well-being therapy: A novel psychotherapeutic approach for residual symptoms of affective disorders. Psychological Medicine, 28, 475-480.




Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2001). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Manuscript submitted for publication.



  Thoughtful Self-Reflection


 King, L. A. (2001). The health benefits of writing about life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 798-807.


King, L. A., & Miner, K. N. (2000).  Writing about the perceived benefitsof traumatic experiences: Implications for physical health. Personality an Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 220-230.


Sousa, L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2002). The medium is the message: The costs and benefits of thinking, writing, and talking about life's triumphs and defeats. Manuscript in preparation, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside.




McCullough, M. E., Pargament, K. I., & Thoresen, C. E. (Eds.) (2000). Forgiveness: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.


Becoming More Optimistic


Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.


DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197-229.


Grob, A., Stetsenko, A., Sabatier, C., Botcheva, L., & Macek, P. (1999). A cross-national model of subjective well-being in adolescence. In F. D. Alsaker, A. Flammer, & N. Bodmer (Eds.), The adolescent experience: European and American adolescents in the 1990s (pp. 115-130). New York: Erlbaum.


McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1986).  Personality, coping, and coping effectiveness in an adult sample.  Journal of Personality, 54, 385-405


Seligman, M. E. P. (1991). Learned optimism. New York: A. A. Knopf.  


Stones, M. J., & Kozma, A. (1986). "Happy are they who are happy…": A test between two causal models of happiness and its correlates. Experimental Aging Research, 12, 23-29.


Taylor, S. E. & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health.  Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193-210


Engaging in social activities



Larson, R. W. (1990). The solitary side of life: An examination of the time people spend alone from childhood to old age. Developmental Review, 10, 155-183.


Watson, D. (1988). Intraindividual and interindividual analyses of positive and negative affect: Their relation to health complaints, perceived stress, and daily activities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1020-1030.


Watson, D., Clark, L. A., McIntyre, C. W., & Hamaker, S. (1992). Affect, personality, and social activity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 1011-1025.



Avoiding comparisons with others


Lyubomirsky, S., & Ross, L. (1997). Hedonic consequences of social comparison: A contrast of happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1141-1157.


Cognitive-Behavavioral strategies (choosing more positive perspectives)

Gillham, J. E., & Reivich, K. J. (1999). Prevention of depressive symptoms in school children: A research update. Psychological Science, 10, 461-462.  


Gloaguen, V., Cottraux, J., Cucherat, M., & Blackburn, I. (1998). A meta-analysis of the effects of cognitive therapy in depressed patients. Journal of Affective

           Disorders, 49, 59-72.


Jacobson, N. S., Dobson, K. S., Truax, P. A., Addis, M. E., Koerner, K., Gollan, J. K., Gortner, E., & Prince, S. E. (1996). A component analysis of cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 295-304.


Setting and pursuing life goals

Brunstein, J. C., Schultheiss, O. C., & Grassman, R. (1998).            Personal goals and emotional well-being: The moderating role of motive dispositions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 494-508.

Emmons, R. A. (1989). The personal strivings approach to personality. In L.A. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology (pp.). Hillsdale, N. J.: Erlbaum.

Emmons, R. A., & King, L. A. (1988). Conflict among personal strivings: Immediate and long-term implications for psychological and physical well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1040-1048.

Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410-422.

Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 280-287.

Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (1995). Coherence and congruence: Two aspects of personality integration. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 68, 531-543.

Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1999). Goal striving, need-satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: The Self-Concordance Model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 482-497.  

Sheldon, K. M., Kasser, T., Smith, K., & Share, T. (2002). Personal goals and psychological growth: Testing an intervention to enhance goal-attainment and personality integration. Journal of Personality, 70, 5-31.  

  Having more "flow" experiences

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Wong, M. M. (1991). The situational and personal correlates of happiness: A cross-national comparison. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 193-212). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.  

Being more autonomous and competent

Langer, E. J., & Rodin, J. (1976). The effects of choice and enhanced personal responsibility for the aged: A field experiment in an institutional setting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 191-198.


Reich, J. W., & Zautra, A. (1981). Life events and personal causation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 1002-1012.

Reis, H. T., Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Gable, S. L., & Roscoe, J (2000). Daily well-being: The role of  autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 419-43.  

Schulz, R. (1976). Effects of control and predictability on the physical and psychological well-being of the institutionalized aged. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33, 563-573.  

Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., & Reis, H. T. (1996). What makes for a good day? Competence and autonomy in the day and in the person. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 1270-1279.  

Avoiding maladaptive behaviors

Lykken, D. (2000). Happiness: The nature and nurture of joy and contentment. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

This list, and the citations, were excerpted from a citations list compiled by Ken Sheldon, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and David Schkade