Robin Lloyd writes in LiveScience that scientists can tell us how to lead a happy life, but most people don’t pay attention and insist on being miserable instead.

Polls do show that Americans are no happier today than they were 50 years ago, despite the fact that most of us have a better quality of life. 10% percent of adult women 4% of adult men take antidepressants. Researcher David Lykken says 50% of happiness is genetic, based on how much serotonin you have naturally.

Part of this has to do with a branch of quantum physics called Fisher Information, which postulates that we create our own reality. In the film “What the (Bleep) Do We Know,” one of the scientists says, “Every day I wake up and say, ‘It’s going to be a great day’–and it always is.”

It?s long been known that money doesn’t buy happiness, at least after a certain point. After they can afford the basics, having more money does not make people any happier. People in third world countries consistently report being happier than people in the West.

One reason Olympic athletes compete is that physical activity takes them to a trance-like state that raises their serotonin levels. Musicians like to practice for the same reason.

Psychologist Ed Diener says that people with close friendships are the happiest and that, not surprisingly, happiness consists of giving rather than receiving.

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