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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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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)

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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)









 What is Happiness?

It is important to first understand that the term "happiness" refers to the emotion, mood, and state of happiness, however happiness researchers generally study the more enduring "state."

Let's begin with our scientific understanding of happiness.  Psychologist Ed Diener, the leading authority on happiness, began his 1984 review by stating that "Throughout history philosophers considered happiness to be the highest good and ultimate motivation for human action."  Social scientists began studying happiness comprehensively in the 1960's.  Lets now explore what their research revealed.  Norman Bradburn in 1969 described it as having more positive emotions and moods than negative emotions and moods.  Angus Campbell in 1976 found that happiness included a third component; satisfaction with one's basic circumstances. 

In 1978, psychologist Jonathan Freedman wrote that "people generally agree about what they mean by happiness.  It is a positive, enduring state that consists of positive feelings...and includes both peace of mind and active pleasures or joy."  He went on to write that "People may pursue happiness differently...But by and large it is the same happiness for everyone."  In 1984 the leading authority on "international" happiness,"  Ruut Veenhoven, described happiness as "the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life-as-a whole favorably."  In 1990, English psychologist Michael Eysenck concurred with Bradburn and Campbell, and described happiness by the equation Happiness = Satisfaction + Hedonic level.  Finally, in 1999, Diener and colleagues again reviewed the literature and divided the "satisfaction" component into two distinct components; "Life (global) Satisfactions" and "Domain (work, family, self, etc.) Satisfactions." 

 How do those scientific definitions compare with our common usage of the word happiness?  Let's refer to The Oxford Universal Dictionary which gives several definitions for "happy." Definitions #1-3 describe it as fortune or luck.  #4 suggests that it is a feeling derived from satisfaction with one's circumstances.  Webster offers the following clarifying distinctions; "Happy generally suggests a feeling of great pleasure, contentment, etc., Glad implies more strongly an exultant feeling of joy,. Cheerful implies a steady display of bright spirits, optimism, etc., Joyful and joyous imply great elation and rejoicing."  Finally, Webster defines Bliss as "great joy or  happiness."   

So, how do happiness researchers know how happy we are?  Well, they might ask us directly with a scaled (e.g. 3, 5, 7, 10 levels) question like "Taking all things together, how would you say things are these days, would you say you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?"  Or they might ask us to answer a battery of questions designed to collectively reveal our happiness level.   Or they might ask our friends and family how happy they think we are.  Interestingly these three methods generally yield very similar results, suggesting the validity of each instrument.

 Happiness is no mystery.  Most people are quite clear about what happiness is, and can easily describe how happy or not they are.  Most people also consider happiness their most important goal in life.  Happiness definitely rules!