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Friday, February 29, 2008

Achieving Happiness!

Surveying 80 countries and 2 million people, we learned that we are happiest in the beginning and the end of our lives, with our middle years as the most depressing times of our lives. Tonight we will look at some ways you can change that trend and increase your happiness.

CBS’s 60 Minutes reporter, Morley Safer just did a story about the happiest country in the world… what did he discover?

~~Denmark had the happiest people in the world. Why do they say they are so
1. Expectations are low, so they can’t be disappointed
2. Little violence, little disparity in wealth
3. Free education and health care
4. People feel safe.
5. Work week is 37 weeks with 6 weeks vacation

The United States may not have rated as high as Denmark in happiness, but what are some keys to enhancing our happiness levels?

• Be social. Research concludes without a doubt that being social, spending time with friends, and mingling with others lowers our anxiety and helps us achieve happiness
• Realize that you have the power to change your mind. Change that negative thought that plays in your mind by confronting the distortion and finding something positive about yourself that changes the message.
• Practice compassion. As we have discussed in the past weeks, doing something for others will enhance your mood and increase your happiness level.

Are there other things we can do to achieve happiness?
• Create a dream. People need goals and the movement towards achieving those goals creates satisfaction and a sense of worth.
• Think about the positives in your life. You have a choice, you can focus on all the negatives and wallow in your pain, or you can choose to see the positives that surround you. Give thanks, and express gratitude.
• Find humor in the world. Research indicates that those who can laugh increase their mood and are happier.
• Get out and move. Studies show that 10 minutes of walking is all you need to have a mood benefit. Unlock those feel-good neurotransmitters and your serotonin levels will rise and your happiness will too!

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