Our lives have gotten busier, the cost of living has increased and there’s the daily stress of living during wartime. But it seems that we haven’t let this get us down. A recent study by the Laugh Doctor, Cliff Kuhn, has found that 56% of us feel happier today than we did ten years ago.

The results may seem a bit paradoxical. On the one hand 73% of the respondents engaged in conversations with strangers throughout the day, sharing insights, jokes and observations. This brief personal contact contributed to a feeling of connectedness and consequently increased their level of happiness.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, 65% of those surveyed admitted to not answering their cell phone every time it rang. This simple action appears to have enhanced their sense of personal control. The combination of being able to reach out and still maintain personal boundaries seems to be a key factor in being happy.

Increased happiness also makes us more attractive to the opposite sex. An astonishing 90% of the women surveyed said that smiles and friendliness were far more important than physical appearance when choosing a mate.

Not surprisingly, the most important factor of happiness is health. The two are irrevocably intertwined. The healthier we are the happier we are. By the same token, the happier we are the healthier we are. Having fun, smiling and feeling joyful reduces stress, boosts the immune system and promotes proper digestion.

Take a few moments and think about your level of happiness. Then think about what simple steps you could take to bring more joy to your daily routine. Dr. Kuhn suggests increasing your “smileage” – even if you aren’t happy at that moment, forcing a smile still produces positive changes in your physiology and can even help to turn a blue mood around.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

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