It's one little word with a lot of meaning! When it comes to happiness, we can learn a little something from grandma and grandpa! A massive Gallup-Healthways poll found people over 65 are happier than any other age group, while middle aged Americans are the unhappiest. So what's the secret?
"You have to look for the good and not look for the bad," said one woman.
"A beautiful day and being healthy that's all you need," Another said.
Clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo says happiness is a skill and can be learned.
"Happiness is a state of mind, it's how we interpret our world," Elzabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist said.
Shift the focus from you to others. The survey found most seniors give back.
17-year old McKenzie Bearup is starting early. 4 years ago, she started collecting books for abused and homeless children. Today, she's collected nearly 50,000 books.
"It just makes me really happy to know that I can hopefully help change their lives," Mckenzie Bearup said.
Researchers found that warm feeling activates the part of the brain that produces feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin, and promote social bonding. Next surround yourself with positive people. Ellie gave up her toxic relationships and found a BFF in Nellie.
"I don't have time for people who complain," 50-year-old Kellie Barrow said.
A study found that knowing another happy person increases your own happiness by 15%. The study also found that having friends of the same sex increases happiness.
Finally, take a lesson from kids and play! CEO of The National Institute for Play, Doctor Stuart Brown calls play, exercise for our brains.
"The opposite of play is not work, the opposite of play is depression," Stuart Brown, M.D., founder and president of The National Institute for Play, said.
In fact, playing and exercise can help us renew neural connections and keeps us sharp.
Research by Duke University found exercise is a mood enhancer and can be just as effective as anti-depressants for people with clinical depression.
"Your goal is to be happier. When you are happier you are going to be a better worker, you're going to be a better parent, a better spouse and a better friend," Dr. Lombardo said.
Another Gallup survey found, the happiest days of the year happen during the holidays and the most stressful days fall during tax season.
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