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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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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

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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

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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12 ways to a HAPPIER World!

 



 

 

Happiness Businesses

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. 

Berlitz sells 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 Motion Picture

Michael 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. 

 

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Happiness Clubs

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.

 

 

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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. 

 

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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 their own.

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 training tool. 

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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Happiness Coaching 

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 their services. 

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

Imagine 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  would 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:

 

Happiness Magazine Feature Ideas

 1.  "Latest Research"

    The field of subjective well-being (happiness) is growing exponentially, and new research is more devoted to practical applications.

 2.  "Parenting for Joy"

    Although 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.

 3.  "Happiness Around the World"

    Research has 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.

 4.  "Whistling While we Work"

    Although, very 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 becoming happier.

 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 much happier.

 6.  "The Happiest Future"

    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 Golden Years"

    One widespread 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 Our Money"

    Above the 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 Religion"

    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 bringing happiness.

 10.  "Icing on the Happiness Cake"

    This feature could highlight the growing body of evidence demonstrating the physical, emotional, work, and other benefits that naturally come to individuals as they become happier.

 11.  "Happiness Clubs"

    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 world.

 12.  "Happiness in the Media" reviews

    This feature 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 emotional lives.

 15.  "The Happiest Places" travel

    This feature could highlight places in the world known for their happy people and their happy ways.

 16.  "Happiness on a Shoestring"

    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 Happiness Myths"

    This feature 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.

 18.  "Happiness Coaches"

    A whole 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

    This feature could highlight people who are very happy despite various difficult situations like illness and a lack of traditional happiness opportunities.

 20.  "Happiness in the News"

    Governments 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

  1.  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 Happiness

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.

 

  
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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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