Laugh Your Way to Happiness

Laugh Your Way to HappinessLaugh Your Way to Happiness

Americans will spend about $550 million on self-help books this year and more than $1 billion on motivational speakers. Obviously, many of them are on a quest for happiness.

“I get it. We all want, and deserve, that sense of well-being. But save your money. Achieving happiness is easier than you may think”, says an article by Danielle Dellorto in CNN.

“We all experience emotional highs throughout our lives -- with a job promotion, on our wedding day, with the birth of a child. But these moments only yield temporary feelings of elation, and experts say that they alone are not enough to achieve true happiness.”

Happiness isn’t just an emotional state. Decades of research proves it goes much deeper. In fact, science shows people who are happy live longer and healthier lives. The good news is that generating better bliss is something “we can all do regardless of our environment or genetics.”

Here are seven ways to boost your life satisfaction:

 Changing Attitude

A Harvard University study found that optimists are not only happier but are 50% less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. It turns out that keeping a positive outlook actually offers protection against cardiovascular disease.The science doesn’t fare as well for pessimists. They have lower levels of happiness and are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age, researchers say.

 Learn From Happy People

Denmark has earned the top spot on the European Commission’s “Eurobarameter” for well-being and happiness every year since 1973. And when the United Nations went on the hunt for the happiest nation in the world, it ranked Denmark No. 1.

So what makes Danes more satisfied with their lives? Sure, things like life expectancy, gross domestic product and a low-corruption rate help. But the overall level of happiness in Denmark has more to do with the generosity that’s common among citizens, their freedom to make life choices and a strong social support system, according to the U.N. 

 Work Less

The Danes seem to strike a great work-life balance, which ups their happiness level. Simply put: They don’t overwork. In fact, the average workweek in Denmark is 33 hours -- only 2% of Danes work more than 40 hours a week.

Almost 80% of mothers in Denmark return to work after having a child, but they balance their free time between families, weekly happy hour with their girlfriends and participating in community club programs.

 Social Network

By simply being social, you could slow down your biological age. Research shows that a strong social support system can lengthen our telomeres.Telomeres are the tiny caps on our DNA chromosomes that indicate our cellular age. According to experts, no friends can equal shorter telomeres and, in turn, a shorter life.

Other studies have showed that loneliness leads to higher rates of depression, health problems and stress. Solution: Have at least one close friend to boost your happiness level and health.


People who volunteer are happier with their lives than those who don’t, according to dozens of studies. The United Nations even credits volunteerism as one of the reasons Denmark is the happiest nation in the world -- 43% of Danes regularly give back to their community, compared with 25% of Americans.

The joy of helping others starts early. A 2012 study found children prefer to give than to receive. Researchers gave two groups of toddlers’ snacks and then asked one group to give their treats away. The children who gave away their treats showed greater happiness about sharing their possessions, suggesting that the act of personal sacrifice was emotionally rewarding, researchers say.

The sacrifice doesn’t have to be big – previous research has found that donating or spending as little as $5 on others has emotional benefits.

Experts say we are all inherently compassionate. Performing acts of kindness, volunteering time and donating money increases happiness by improving your sense of community, purpose and self-image.

 Live to 100

Laughing is also good for your heart. A study found that only 8% of heart patients who were made to laugh daily had a second heart attack within a year, compared with 42% of the non-laughers.

Studies show our bodies can’t differentiate between fake and real laughter; you’ll get the health boost either way. So you can even fake it until you make it. Laugh in your car, in the shower -- force yourself to start laughing a few minutes every day.