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Why is Happiness so Important?
The APACHE Method
(Positive Adjectives Technique and List)
The Ortega Happiness
Other Ways of Becoming Happier
Happiness Increase Experiments
Happiness Researchers and Promoters
Dr. M. Fordyce
George Ortega's Happiness Skills
Theory (2 drafts)
Happiness Books, Papers and
Start a Happiness Show
Happiness-Increase Research and the Artifacts Dilemma
Happiness Research Still
Proposals for Further Refuting
Hedonic Adaptation Predictions
The Hey Bill
Gates, Start an International Happiness Corporation Campaign
George's Happy World
Age of Happiness
100 Happiness Self-Statements
Outlines to Early The Happiness Show Episodes
us from home TV
Key Happiness Facts
World's Happiest Countries (2004):
4. El Salvador
5. Puerto Rico
(U.S. ranks 16th)
Countries with Highest Levels of
Subjective Well-Being (2004):
1. Puerto Rico
Click here for the complete ranking and
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
37 percent of the people on
Forbes list of Wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average
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.
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)
ways to a
Business is about happiness. We buy
products and services because we believe they will either maintain
or increase our happiness or that of those we care about. Since happiness is the
most important life goal for most of us, it makes sense that we would consider
buying greater happiness directly, as a product. It also makes
sense that businesses would want to sell us greater happiness
directly through happiness training classes.
language instruction, Kaplan sells academic
improvement, many businesses sell music, art, exercise and martial
arts instruction, etc. The time has come for consumers to become
much happier by being afforded the opportunity of paying for
happiness increase instruction.
Martin Seligman is paving the way in
this area by training hundreds of Authentic Happiness Coaches that
will offer clients one-to one happiness-increase training.
Individual training, however, is both costly for clients and time
ineffective for coaches. A sounder way of selling happiness to
consumers is by the establishment of businesses that offer
happiness-increase classes to groups of ten to twenty students for
a period of several months. This marketing method would result in
lower happiness training costs for consumers, and greater per-
hour profitability for happiness trainers.
As Dr. Seligman knows, and as has been
clearly and strongly demonstrated by pioneering
happiness-increase experiments conducted by Dr. Michael Fordyce
and others, marginally happy individuals can become substantially
happier in a matter of weeks through various training strategies
that are easy to learn and enjoyable to practice. Businesses
offering happiness training and using television and print media
to advertise their classes to consumers across the world, are
thereby creating a new product and a major new market.
Considering that the pharmaceutical
companies have not yet engineered and marketed a happiness pill
with few or no significant side effects, having businesses created
to sell happiness as a product to consumers appears the most
effective way of making our world much happier.
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A Major Happiness Documentary
Moore has been tremendously successful in using major motion
pictures documentaries as vehicles for both public education and
political influence. A major motion picture documentary on
Happiness would be an excellent way to move happiness into the
forefront of the public's attention. Such a documentary could
highlight that while happiness is our main purpose in life, we
are only marginally successful at it, and how citizens of some
very poor countries like Nigeria are much happier than we are in
the United States. It could also educate the public about how
easy it is for individuals to become much happier through simple
training over the course of a few months. Perhaps best of all,
a major motion picture documentary on happiness would be the
ideal avenue for encouraging the creation of happiness shows for
major network television.
While businesses could make enormous
profits selling consumers an effective means of achieving their
most cherished desire in life, many of us, especially those of us
in poorer countries, would rather not spend money learning
something that can be learned for free. Happiness-increase
strategies and techniques are easy to teach and easy to learn. A
great way by which our world can become much happier is through the
world-wide expansion of happiness clubs.
In 2000, Lionel Ketchian, my co-host on
The Happiness Show, created the world's first happiness club in
Fairfield Connecticut. His free monthly club meetings draw an
average of 50 participants who benefit not only from Lionel's
comprehensive knowledge of happiness, but also from the many
guests he invites to address his club. Members also benefit from
each other. Having social support is a great boon to any
endeavor, and surrounding oneself with people who wisely value
happiness and are actively making efforts to become happier ensure
that one's happiness-increase goals are not only effective but
also much fun.
Teaching Happiness in Schools
Even the earliest Yogic writings
recognize that the ultimate purpose of knowledge is happiness.
Otherwise of what value is knowing anything? While many of us
believe children tend to be much happier than adults, the research
suggests that their happiness level is generally no higher. Also,
many of our children do not seem to enjoy their education. High
school graduation rates are unacceptably low in many areas of the
United States. For example, in several New York City high
schools, less than 50 percent of the students graduate.
Children are for twelve years taught to
read, write, and do math, but when they become adults, they
experience an over 50 percent divorce rate, are only about 70
percent happy, and experience happiness only about 54 percent of
each day. Schools, however, are not forced to choose between
helping children achieve academically and fully enjoy their lives.
Since reading is a fundamental academic skill that all students
learn, wise school boards will develop curriculums that improve
students’ reading by utilizing material designed to also teach
these students how to become much happier children and eventually
much happier adults.
Classes from pre-kindergarten through
post-graduation could easily and inexpensively present
happiness-increase strategies and techniques geared to each
individual age group. As a growing body of happiness benefits
research suggests, by helping students become happier, we help
them become more creative, earn higher incomes, enjoy richer
social lives, and become better citizens. Teaching happiness to
our children will also enhance their traditional academic
learning. Happier students are easier to teach, and will be more
likely to graduate.
The Happy Pill
While most of us prefer
"natural" answers to
life’s problems, we must admit that very often "unnatural"
solutions are very effective, and often necessary. Modern
medicine with its procedures and pharmaceutical products has
dramatically increased the life expectancy and quality of life for
hundreds of millions throughout our planet.
Becoming much happier by learning and
practicing happiness-increase methods and techniques is both
effective and easy. The problem, however, is that as with
physical exercises; many of us will not spend the time and effort
to do them. We take many medicines because we lack the motivation
to maintain and regain our health through more natural methods.
As has been demonstrated by so many "feel better" medicines, we
would very likely take a pharmaceutical agent to help us become
much happier provided that undesirable side effects are minimized
or made minimal.
Researchers have developed effective drugs to
overcome depression. While these agents do not generally help
marginally happy people become happier, they demonstrate the great
potential pharmaceutical solutions hold in helping us achieve our
most cherished life goal - happiness. Individuals often do not
need to take antidepressants for more than a few weeks or a few
months. After a certain time, the brain's natural depression
fighting mechanisms kick in and the drugs become no longer
necessary. It seems reasonable to anticipate that happiness
pills would not need to be taken indefinitely. After taking them
for a time, individuals would gain a familiarity with their
greater happiness and be motivated to thereafter generate it on
A happiness pill may turn out to be the most
cost-effective strategy for making our world happier. Once
individuals taking happiness pills began to experience not only
the pleasure of feeling much happier, but the additional benefits
like increased income and social success, they will likely turn to
non-pharmacological happiness-increase methods and techniques to
enhance these benefits.
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Happiness Training for Employees
As people become happier, they become more
physically and emotionally healthy, more energetic, more creative,
etc. and even earn more money. These happiness benefits could be
of enormous value to any business whose profits are strongly
determined by its employees' performance. Once top level business
executives are shown that they can substantially increase company
profits and create a more enjoyable working environment simply by
providing happiness-increase training for their employees, these
courses would in short time become a cross-industry employee
Happiness clubs, support groups and training
businesses are great ways to help us become happier, however, as
extensive data begins to show conclusively that greater happiness
results in proportionally greater economic profitability, major
corporations will likely assume a role at the forefront of efforts
to make our world much happier.
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While group psychotherapy is an effective and
widely used treatment modality, most therapy is conducted one to
one. Because of this cultural norm, happiness coaching can be an
effective means of introducing the principles and practices of
happiness-increase to the world. Unhappy and marginally happy
individuals most in need of happiness-increase training are most
likely to explore this new treatment. They can be targeted
through marketing programs that utilize referrals, although
physicians and psychotherapists must be made more aware of the
therapeutic effectiveness of happiness-training. It would also be
very prudent for happiness coaches to form associations by which
they can far less expensively and far more expansively promote
Happiness coaching should be seen as an
introductory happiness-increase method, both for coaches and
clients. Considering that people are on average only 70 percent
happy and are only happy, on average, 54 percent of each day,
there is a potentially far greater market for happiness-increase
than there exists for emotional health. This market would be far
more effectively tapped through classroom instruction than through
one to one coaching.
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A Mass Audience Television Happiness Show
a major cable or network television program entirely devoted to
happiness. A weekly half-hour happiness program is an
ideal way to introduce the world to the fact that happiness is
really what we want most from life, and that happiness underlies
all of our other wants. Such a show, presenting many informative
and entertaining features like interviews with very happy people
throughout even the most remote parts of the world, would create
a global market for happiness and happiness products.
A few centuries ago, people awakened to the
wonderful benefits of freedom, and this awakening lead to the
creation of political democracies throughout world. The concept
of freedom and its implementation changed our world dramatically.
Our awakening to the concept of happiness, and to the benefits
gained as our world becomes happier, has the potential to change
our planet more dramatically than the contributions of freedom,
equality, government, religion, capitalism education, and medicine
combined. These other concepts, systems and practices are so
valuable because they facilitate the happiness of large numbers of
people. As such it is neither hyperbole nor mere rhetoric to
predict that the world's heeding the call to happiness would
herald in the most wonderful age humankind has ever known.
Most Americans watch at least four hours of
television each day. Television is the most potent vehicle for
communication on our planet and a mass audience television program
entirely devoted to happiness would do more good for our world
than most of us can imagine.
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A Major Happiness Magazine
Much about happiness and becoming happier is easily
and effectively communicated through text. While many more people watch
television than read magazines, a magazine entirely devoted to happiness
be a wonderful vehicle for encouraging people throughout the
world to actively and knowledgeably succeed at this cherished
goal. It would be a powerful catalyst for a global happiness
initiative spanning business, government, education,
and medicine. Historically, such an undertaking would be a
major world development. Similarly to how the Magna
Carta ushered in an age of much greater personal and political
freedom, a well-staffed popular happiness magazine could usher
in an age of Great Happiness.
Of course, a
magazine devoted to helping our world become happier could enjoy
a mass appeal that would generate great revenue. The kinds
of features and articles such a magazine could present, and
continue presenting, for many years to come is listed below:
The field of
subjective well-being (happiness) is growing
exponentially, and new research is more devoted to
2. "Parenting for
parents' strongest desire for their children is
happiness, that goal is often superseded by education
and career goals. This feature could present parents
with practical, scientifically based, strategies they
could use daily to help their children become, and
remain, very happy.
Around the World"
found that different cultures throughout the world
pursue and achieve happiness in different ways. This
feature could highlight these varied strategies, and
give readers an understanding of different happiness
approaches, and how well they work.
While we Work"
interestingly, research indicates that most people are
happier at work than at leisure, most people are not
very happy at their jobs. This feature could offer
personal and institutional advice on how workers can
best enjoy their work. This feature could also
highlight the various work-related benefits (greater
income, creativity, etc.) that result from workers
5. "Happy in Love"
One of the
strongest findings in happiness research is that our
love relationships have a powerful influence on our
level of happiness. This feature could offer advice on
how succeeding with our relationships can help us become
6. "The Happiest
This could be a
political advocacy feature that highlights how various
changes in our social, business, and government
institutions and policies can help us build a happier
world for our children and grand children.
7. "The Happy
myth is that as we become older we become much less
happy. This feature could relieve readers' fears about
their personal future, and offer happiness advice
tailored specifically to senior citizens.
8. "Happiness and
poverty line, money has very little impact on our level
of happiness, yet many are convinced that the one thing
that will best make them happier is having more money.
This feature could highlight the money/happiness
connection and offer advice on how to get the most
happiness for our time, energy, and dollars.
9. "Happiness and
Although not as
strong as the marriage/happiness connection, research
finds that religious people are consistently happier
than the non-observant. This feature could explore some
reasons for this relationship, and inform individuals
about what religious practices and beliefs work best at
10. "Icing on the
could highlight the growing body of evidence
demonstrating the physical, emotional, work, and other
benefits that naturally come to individuals as they
An ideal way to
promote the magazine, and an interest in happiness, is
by the promotion of a world-wide network of happiness
clubs. These gatherings would give people much support
and structure that would make becoming happier much
easier and more fun. This feature could highlight the
people and activities of happiness clubs throughout the
12. "Happiness in
the Media" reviews
could inform readers about books, movies, CDs etc. that
focus on happiness, pleasant emotions, or ways of better
enjoying our lives.
13. "Our Happy
Pets" This feature could highlight information about
how to keep our pets emotionally content, and could, for
example, advocate for the happiness rights of the other
animals with whom we share the Planet.
14. "The Emotions"
At its most
basic, happiness is all about reducing unpleasant
emotions (anger, fear, sadness, etc.) and increasing our
pleasant emotions (happiness, satisfaction, etc.) This
feature could explain to readers why we feel various
emotions, and how to take greater control of our
15. "The Happiest
could highlight places in the world known for their
happy people and their happy ways.
16. "Happiness on
Many ways of
finding happiness cost little or no money. This feature
could show readers many practical ways to become very
happy regardless of how much money they spend.
17. "Exploding the
could expose various myths most of us have about
happiness. For example, many of us believe that the
surest way to lose our happiness is to seek it.
Fortunately research indicates that the happiest people
in the world are those that seek it the most.
happiness coaching industry is developing, and this
feature could help readers understand what it is all
about, and how to find effective happiness coaches.
19. "Happy No
Matter What" inspirational stories
could highlight people who are very happy despite
various difficult situations like illness and a lack of
traditional happiness opportunities.
20. "Happiness in
throughout the world are beginning to take happiness
much more seriously. Great Britain recently published a
study recommending policy initiatives that could would
make her citizens happier. This feature would highlight
what is currently happening in business, government,
education, etc. that effects our happiness.
Happiness Article Ideas
Why we aren't Happier. 2. Happiness- what works and
what doesn't 3. The Happiest Countries in the
World 4. What is Happiness? 5. Happiness
Throughout History 6. Happiness - Out There or in
Here? 7. The Happy Pill? 8. Happiness and Desires
9. Happiness and Government 10. Half Empty or
Half Full - Gratitude and Happiness 11. Happiness
- The Greatest Success 12. Educating for
Happiness 13. The New Happiness Businesses
14. Vacations - Our Happiest Times 15. Happiness
and the Comparisons we Make
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Happiness Summer Camps
At any given time one of every four of us in the
United States is mildly depressed. Over -- children are treated for
depression here each year. I remember my weeks at sleep away camp as
my happiest times growing up. Summer day and sleep away camps can be
godsends to many families where one or more of the children are either
suffering from clinical depression or are just not very happy.
Camps can be a wonderful vehicle for teaching
morose and depressed children to tune into the feeling of happiness, and
the fact that happiness (both their own and that of others) should be a
major goal of their lives. Staffed by trained mental health
professionals, these camps could be affordable to depressed and unhappy
children because insurance plans would likely cover the costs.
Happiness camps would also be a great benefit to
the parents of depressed or unhappy children because they would give
them a week or two break from the trials that accompany raising their
troubled children. Separations from their children are often avoided
because of the guilt they induce. Happiness camps, however would not
only minimize or completely eliminate this guilt, they would likely
inspire parents to be optimistic that their children can become much
happier through happiness training.
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Government Departments of
Here in the United States we have 14 federal
departments that manage our country's economic, education, national
security and even transportation needs. Very ironically, while all
national governments are ideally structured to create "the greatest
happiness for the greatest number," with a global average happiness
level of less than 65 percent, our governments are failing us miserably.
Considering that happiness is the major aim of most
individuals and governments, and that personal happiness can be
successfully increased through various specific short term strategies,
it makes consummate sense that there should be a Department of Happiness
in every federal government. This prospect is not fluffy, new age
idealism; it is cost- conscious, pragmatic, common sense. Happier
people get sick less often. Happier people work harder and earn more
money. Happier people are less likely to commit crimes and are more
likely to be of value to their communities. Happier people make better
citizens, and a happier country is a better country.
The nation of Bhutan is leading the way in
understanding the importance of happiness. In --- the --- decreed that
their government would hold gross national happiness on a par with gross
national economic productivity. Great Britain is also at the leading
edge of this progressive understanding. In --- the --- of Great
Britain undertook a comprehensive study of how their government could
implement policies and institutions aimed at helping her people become
happier. Federal Departments of Happiness could do much to encourage
the teaching of happiness in schools and the creation of happiness
training business. They could also provide tax incentives to businesses
that provide happiness-increase training for their employees. Federal
Departments of Happiness would be a great step forward toward improving
the welfare of people throughout our world.
Happiness Self-Help Groups
We join self help groups for many
reasons like divorce, bereavement, substance abuse, and emotional
problems. Alcoholics Anonymous runs thousands of meetings each
week throughout the world for tens of thousands of individuals
demonstrating the success of the self-help group movement Most
self-help groups meet once weekly, and this regularity, week after
week and month after month, can provide a very effective vehicle
for helping people become happier. A problem with almost all
existing self-help groups, however, is that they generally focus
on difficulties. That means that members of these groups must not
only cope with their own situations, but the situations of other
group members, and this can often be painful for everyone.
Considering that all self-help groups
share the common goal of enhancing the life, or happiness, of
their members, it is likely that groups designed specifically to
help members become much happier would enjoy great popularity.
Happiness is beginning to find use in clinical psychology as a
treatment modality. Dr. Giovanni Fava has published a series of
papers showing how happiness can be very effective at preventing
the re-occurrence of emotional symptoms. Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky
and her colleagues have recently been publishing papers
highlighting how as people become happier, they become less
symptomatic, more physically healthy, more compassionate, and even
better at making money, etc.
It is still too early to know whether
businesses will take the lead in popularizing happiness increase
among the general public or the mental health community will
spearhead this promotion by beginning to utilize happiness as a
powerful therapeutic modality. One thing is clear - Happiness
self-help groups are a very cost-effective means of making our
world much happier.
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