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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, and stay happy forever and ever.

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 This site averages over 200,000 visits per year 

 

HAPPINESS BY KNOWING FREE WILL IS AN ILLUSION!

I explained how overcoming belief in free will can boost happiness on episode 7 Happiness and the Determinism vs. Free Will Question, 4-20-03, and 92 A Conversation about Happiness, Free Will and Determinism, 2-28-05

John Searle, the13th ranked post-1900 philosopher, says that our world overcoming the free will illusion "would be a bigger revolution in our thinking than Einstein, or Copernicus, or Newton, or Galileo, or Darwin -- it would alter our whole conception of our relation with the universe." 
 


Find out why at
my new show,
 Exploring the Illusion of Free Will

 

 

 

Who We Are
Watch for free our over 130 shows in Google Video, windows streaming media and mpeg

Watch for free our over 30 "producer's choice" shows

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

Happiness Quotes

100 Happiness Self-Statements

Outlines to Early The Happiness Show Episodes

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Key Happiness Facts
 

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

Countries with Highest Levels of Subjective Well-Being:
 
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)



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Top Happiness Researchers and Promoters

 
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Social scientists have been studying happiness comprehensively since the early 1960s.  In recent years lay individuals have increasingly contributed to promoting greater personal and societal happiness through various means such as books, clubs, businesses, television and the internet.

While psychologists' extensive happiness research provides us with a wealth of very important and well-documented knowledge about happiness, sometimes academics are less successful at promoting practical applications of their findings.  For example, of the over 3,000 published happiness studies over the last four decades, less than a dozen were designed as attempts to increase personal happiness.

Lay individuals, on the other hand, are very focused on the final goal of happiness research - helping people become happier.  However, many non-scientists ignore the extremely useful and important scientific data on happiness, and thereby greatly limit their influence on both the public and the media.

The Top Happiness Researchers and Promoters section is being presented to bridge the gap between these two happiness increase vehicles.  Hopefully social scientists will increasingly understand that through the development and promotion of practical implementations, their findings will have far greater relevance and lay happiness promoters will increasingly understand that their efforts to help make our world happier gains influence when backed by solid scientific data.

 

 

Key Happiness Researchers

Michael Fordyce

Michael Fordyce, founder of the now hot field of Happiness-Increase Psychology, is, in my opinion, the psychologist who best understands and has most significantly influenced the field of happiness research.  In 1977, he published the world's first comprehensive happiness increase study, and his understanding of the importance of happiness to our world is unparalleled among his peers.   For this reason, on every page of my The Happiness Show website there is a link to this description.  He published his visionary work Human Happiness; it's Nature and Attainment as well as the three most advanced happiness increase studies yet conducted.  Dr. Fordyce recently granted me permission to produce "A Program to Increase Personal Happiness" a 28 episode cable television program from his 14 episode The Psychology of Happiness video series.  The program premiered in White Plains, New York on September 16th, 2004.

 

Martin E. P. Seligman 

http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/seligman.aspx

Dr. Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association and recently ranked the 31st most influential psychologist of all time is doing more to build a happier world than any other happiness researcher.  In addition to having raised over $30 million dollars for the happiness-directed Positive Psychology field he created in 1998, Dr. Seligman is currently training hundreds of happiness coaches that are destined to become a potent force in bringing practical implementations of happiness increase psychology to consumers throughout our world.  While his theory of happiness is in some ways seriously flawed, his happiness increase applications are founded on empirical research, and are therefore invaluable to the field.  Happiness research is meaningless without vehicles for its practical implementation, and Dr. Seligman is the psychologist most directly increasing what he refers to as the "total tonnage of happiness in the world." 

 

 Ruut Veenhoven 

http://www2.eur.nl/fsw/research/veenhoven/index.htm

Dr. Ruut Veenhoven, from The Netherlands, is the field's leading authority on "international" happiness, and one of Happiness Psychology's most progressive thinkers.  His World Database of Happiness is THE internet source of professional information on happiness research.   I am very grateful to Dr. Veenhoven for having had the wisdom to present on his site a list of the most important professional books on happiness - a resource enormously helpful to my  research.   Dr. Veenhoven is also the editor of The Journal of happiness Studies, http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/1389-4978/current , the first psychology journal entirely devoted to happiness research.  His comprehensive ---- published in --- presents extensive and detailed data on the happiness experienced by many of the countries throughout the world.  

 

Ed Diener 

http://s.psych.uiuc.edu/~ediener/

Ed Diener is the world's leading happiness researcher.  He is a prolific researcher and writer who has collaborated extensively with many other top researchers.  Dr. Diener's 1984 and 1999 reviews of happiness findings are considered the most authoritative in the field.  He co-edited Well-being; The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, the most theoretically sophisticated book on happiness yet published..  Perplexingly although Dr. Diener has led the field for the last thirty years, he has yet to publish a happiness-increase study, somewhat diminishing his influence on the cutting edge and very important Happiness-Increase Psychology field.

 

David Myers 

www.davidmyers.org/happiness

David Myers has written numerous papers on happiness and is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness.  While now somewhat out of date, it is, in my opinion, the best review of happiness research available in book form.  He has also authored the most popular college level introductory psychology textbook.  Equally importantly, Dr. Myers is a very kind man, as I have personally experienced.

  

Daniel Kahneman 

http://webdb.princeton.edu/dbtoolbox/query.asp?qname=facultydetail&ID=kahneman

Daniel Kahneman, a top happiness researcher, was awarded the 2002 Nobel prize in economics  "for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty."   Dr. Kahneman co-edited Well-being; The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology.  

 

Michael Argyle

Our world suffered a great loss in September of 2002 with the passing of Dr. Michael Argyle of England.  In 1989, Dr. Argyle wrote The Psychology of Happiness, an excellent book reviewing happiness research.  Before leaving us he updated this important work by publishing a 2001 second edition.  While this revision has already become somewhat dated in the rapidly advancing field of Happiness Psychology, it is a must read for anyone interested in the current state of the research.

 

Ken Sheldon 

 http://www.missouri.edu/~psycks/

Kennon Sheldon is reviving and expanding upon the happiness-increase work Dr. Fordyce pioneered in the late 1970s.  Last year he was kind enough to send me two of his manuscripts that  compellingly encourage a new wave of happiness-increase experimentation and practical happiness-increase applications throughout society.  Dr. Sheldon's research is also  demonstrating that happiness level gains can remain in effect long-term.

 

Sonja Lyubomirsky 

http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~sonja/

Sonja Lyubomirsky is a visionary among the new generation of happiness-increase researchers.   Dr. Lyubomirsky's work will hopefully find applications within her native Russia, where happiness levels are among the lowest in the world.

 

Douglas Ramm

www.theformulaforhappiness.com.

Building a happier world requires both research and implementation. Dr. Douglas Ramm, a Pennsylvania clinical psychologist and happiness researcher, has conducted extensive research on what enables, and threatens our happiness.  His formula for happiness can be utilized in the context of coaching, counseling and psychotherapy and as a foundation for business ethics and organizational development.  Dr. Ramm's "Facts of Life Seminar" not only increases happiness but also uses happiness to motivate positive behavior. Mandated for the 800 juvenile offenders on probation in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the program has already produced robust results. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ramm and his valuable contributions to helping build a happier world.

 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi is referred to by Dr. Seligman as the "brains" behind the new Positive Psychology movement that has as its goal the promotion of happiness-increase.

 

Robert Emmons 

Dr. Emmons, who has published at least eighteen papers on happiness,  has empirically demonstrated the power of gratitude in increasing happiness.

 

Ron Inglehart

http://polisci.lsa.umich.edu/faculty/ringlehart.html

Dr. Inglehart is director of the University of Michigan based World Values Surveys, the most authoritative happiness polling organization in the world.  His organization's latest 1999-2001 report (released in April, 2004) reveals that the happiest countries in the world are Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico.

 

Bruce Headey

http://melbourneinstitute.com/people/bheadey/

Bruce Heady has been researching happiness for decades and is co-author of the influential Understanding Happiness published in 1992.  This work unfortunately advanced the now dated view that long term increases in happiness are not possible because of the limiting effects of adaptation level.  Last year (2003), I presented him with a research proposal designed to further refute the mistaken predictions of adaptation theory, and he expressed to me his sincere interest and appreciation.

I essentially asked him to consider that since the average level of happiness here in the USA is about 70 percent, the average level for prisoners incarcerated for over ten years may range between 60 and 70 percent, or lower, while the average level for long-term incarcerated parolees free for over ten years may range between 70 and 80 percent, or higher.  If there turns out to be a substantial enough average difference between prisoners who have been incarcerated for over ten years, and similarly incarcerated parolees who have been free for over ten years, that finding would demonstrate that long-term happiness is not static as adaptation level theory predicts. To my delight, Dr. Headey wrote back to say that my proposal seemed like a terrific idea.

 

David Lyyken

David Lykken is a researcher who in 1996 published results leading many people to mistakenly conclude that because one's happiness level is at least 50 percent genetically dependant, attempting to become happier was a futile pursuit.  Dr. Lykken (his name means happiness in his native Norway) was dismayed with the misinterpretation of his results, and in 1999 he published a book titled Happiness that presents principles and techniques for becoming happier.

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