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“Happiness Report” shows Americans can be happier

The “World happiness Report” for 2018 is out, and it finds that Americans are unhappy. The list ranks the overall happiness levels of 156 countries, and for the third year in a row, the U.S. has dropped in ranking, sitting now at number 19…a lower spot than last year.

The report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a U.N. initiative.

The top three spots this year were occupied by Finland, Denmark and Norway. At the bottom were Afghanistan, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
So why are Americans unhappy? The report points largely to addiction, whether it be addiction to gaming, devices, or drugs like opioids.

Jeffrey Sachs, a co-author of the report, said in a news release, “The compulsive pursuit of substance abuse and addictive behaviors is causing severe unhappiness. Government, business, and communities should use these indicators to set new policies aimed at overcoming these sources of unhappiness.”

Short of overcoming addiction, how can we get happy? Certified therapist Jessica York Franco helps clients deal with challenges every day. She says there are actually ways to control our emotions and set ourselves up for a good day. Best of all, these methods are free!

“Vitamin D is something you get from the sun. Fifteen minutes a day can increase melatonin and seratonin levels. Also, exercise. There’s a lot of benefit to people eating a healthy diet and a lot of chemicals in food can improve your mood. It may seem simple, but things like this can reduce stress. Also have a bedtime routine,” says York Franco. She also suggests meditation and relaxation apps, and positive affirmations, or thoughts.

Local father and now author Manny Martinez, Junior believes in the power of affirmation, and making people feel important. He wrote his 2-year old son Aiden a book, called “Good night, my love, Good night.” He didn’t have a close relationship with his father growing up, but wants to make sure his son feels important and loved. He says happiness starts at home.

“There’s so much negativity these days. It’s important for kids to know they have a safe place to go. Someone to talk to, and it’s important for him to know I’m here for him,” says Martinez.

He says it’s so easy to turn off the T.V. now and then.

“Turn off social media. Go outside. You don’t have to be a part of the negativity,” he adds.

When people head out for the day, a healthy mindset can change the way people see others, and are seen by others. You don’t have to write your child a book to make them feel loved, but you can take Martinez’s approach of making those close to you feel appreciated and important.

Happiness is so important that Yale University is offering a free course online. It’s called “The Science of Well-Being,” and claims to teach students of all ages how to be happier. More than 220-thousand people have already taken it!

For a link to that (again, free!) course, click here.

For a look at this year’s “World Happiness Report,” click here.

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