Report: Americans most unhappy people in the world

February 20, 2013 4:57:03 PM PST
Americans actually report being among the most unhappy people in the world.

Anti-depressant usage has increased 400 percent since 1994. So why are so many people may be unhappy, and what you can do to change that?

Lorraine Robertson is lucky.

"I wake up happy," Robertson said.

Because according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 10 adults in America reports being clinically depressed. And as it turns out, happiness does not come naturally to everyone.

"About 50 percent of happiness is genetically determined, so some people are born Tiggers, and some people are born Eeyores," said Gretchen Rubin, the author of the happiness report.

Rubin also discovered during her research that a person's connection to others plays a major role, too.

"People who report having long-term intimate relationships -- where they can confide, where they feel like they belong -- these people do tend to be happier." Rubin said.

And something else: It's not big things, like a new house or fancy car, that makes an impact but little things, like the smell of an orange, that can give the biggest happiness boost.

"Over and over, people tell me something like cleaning out a medicine cabinet gives them a huge jolt of good cheer and energy," Rubin said.

Psychologist Dr. Jane Gruber agrees and points to studies indicating that the more you accept who and how you are, the happier you are likely to become.

"By accepting our feelings, we're actually less likely to judge ourselves and to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression," Gruber said.

Robertson says she is happiest spending time with her family, but admits sometimes it's getting away that brings her joy, either going for a run or losing herself in music.

"I think sometimes people are afraid to be happy or to let go," Robertson said.

One other little thing experts say could help. Make up your the bed each morning. Studies show this simple act can make all the difference in your day.
___________________________________________________________

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices


Load Comments