Ask Dr. Joy: Achieving Happiness

By WEEK Producer

Ask Dr. Joy: Achieving Happiness

April 25, 2012 Updated Apr 25, 2012 at 4:13 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Happiness: we all want it, but how do we achieve it?

When we look at the people in our lives, we always seem to be able to find some who always seem to be happy. But how does one find happiness?

British and American researchers just released some new information about our happiness factor. Eighty countries, and 2 million people were studied and the results might be a little surprising.

* People are most likely to become depressed in middle ages
* We are happiest at the beginning and end of our lives
* We tend to be the most depressed between 40-50 years of age.
* Peak time for depression is 44, and American men are most depressed at 50 and American women at 40.
* Socio-economic status, marital status, nor number of children affected the statistics worldwide.

What seemed odd in those results that we are happiest at the end of our lives. Why is that?
* People learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses and are grateful for what they have attained
* People who work at being happy have discovered their health and longevity increases
* Comparing their lives to those who have died makes many happy for their remaining years.

What can we do to improve our mood?
* Focus on the half full glass
* Practice gratitude on a daily basis (keep a list of positive things in your life)
* Create a list of things you still want to accomplish (a bucket list or wish list), and experience the happiness as you achieve those goals.
* Embrace the love around you, and spend time with people who are your cheerleaders and friends.

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