The HPI (Happy Planet Index) currently lists the United States as the 105th happiest country in the world. (No, there is no prize for that. Quit asking.)
We're less happy by far than most countries in Central and South America and Southeast Asia. The happiest place in the world? Costa Rica.
C'mon get happy, America.
What contributes to our general unhappiness as a country has been well researched: we commute, we live in suburban blandscapes removed from nature, we sit, we're alone a lot, we stress, we don't walk, we're removed from extended family, we don't goof and play and socialize (some research suggests we should socialize up to 7 hours a day for optimum health), and our diets are SAD (sadly SAD stands for Standard American Diet).
Here's what I've lifted from the data and plan to apply to my life to boost the happiness of my planet.
1) Eat a Mediterranean diet;
2) Laugh daily, and not a fake titter either;
3) See friends, play, dance, disinhibit myself from saying things like, "I really like you" (though it makes me feel vulnerable and dorky);
4) Get out of the captain's chair every 15 minutes and move about the cabin;
5) Create a relaxation practice;
6) Sweat to the drenching daily;
7) Shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing; gardening;
8) Practice switching the focus of my thoughts from the catastrophic to the present;
9) Learn Spanish