Feel happier in just seven days?

November 9, 2011 8:19:21 PM PST
The recession is in its third year, and many of us are still struggling. Some have lost their jobs, others have lost their homes. And it seems that everyone is discouraged. And yet, a new study from London says happy people live longer.

So how do you do that? How do you find happiness in the midst of trying circumstances? We found out that we may be looking for happiness in all the wrong places.

"I wanted to be a reporter," Katrice Simmons said.

But Simmons has been sending her resume to TV stations since she graduated from college last year but has had no results.

"Not hearing anything back from the few stations that I sent my resume tape to just brought me down and I just gave up," she said.

She's been working in food service to pay the bills.

"I'm really tired of working in food service, really tired," Simmons said.

From college graduates like Simmons, to people who have been laid off, many are living with disappointment, sadness and even bitterness. And that bothered Pastor Joel Osteen.

"I thought how can I help people enjoy life and not just endure it," Osteen said.

So he wrote, "Every Day a Friday, How to be Happier in 7 Days."

"I really believe if you're not happy where you are, you won't get to where you want to be. Meaning that OK maybe I lost my job, if I sit around and complain all day and blame everybody else, it's going to keep me right where I am," Osteen said.

The book is filled with tips but we condensed them to three that would be easy to test and gave them to Simmons. We didn't tell her where the tips came from, we just asked her to give them a try.

"When I get ready in the morning, they're the first things that I see," she said.

No. 1 on the list: Happiness is a choice -- and you have to choose it.

"We cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control our response," Osteen said.

No. 2: Know what to ignore.

"You got to make a decision at the start of the day, I'm not gonna let little things steal my joy," Osteen said.

No. 3: Travel light, meaning forgive a lot and pitch the baggage of hurt and bitterness.

"You can't let yourself get bitter, angry, start blaming yourself, blaming your employer, blaming God," he said.

Simmons lived by these happiness tips for one week. So did they help?

"They did, they did. I can't control what happens in my life, and just me staying happy daily reading those tips, especially the first one, really helped me," she said.

When we told Simmons the tips were from Osteen, she was surprised.

"You know what's funny is I love Joel Osteen," she said.

Osteen is the first to admit that it doesn't take tips from a book to find happiness. Ultimately, it's a choice and it's up to us to choose to be happy.

The book debuted last month at No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list. And as the economy has gone down, Lakewood Church's membership has gone up. Lakewood now has 43,000 members and is one of America's largest churches.

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