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A new survey finds that the U.S. is just the 18th happiest country in the world, because of poor health, poor economic mobility, and a lack of social cohesion.  In each of more than 150 countries surveyed, Gallup asked 3,000 respondents to assess their life on a scale of 1 to 10. The top rung (10) means they are living the best possible life; the bottom means the worst. Americans give an average rung-number of 6.8, while the top four countries all score more than 7.5.

There are many reasons why we might not be happy. Social media, while giving the illusion of connectedness actually makes us more lonely and yearning for the seemingly ideal life of others that doesn’t really exist. We are also overweight, fatigued, and unhappy in our jobs.

Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier. So, how can we make our lives happier and, therefore, healthier?

Prioritize relationships. The people that are happiest are those that have intense and meaningful relationships. Invest time and energy into your relationships you’ll be happier and live longer! Studies have proven that lonely people die younger.

Learn to cope.  If you never experience a low point, it is hard to appreciate the high points. It is essential be able to cope with the low points if you are going to be happier overall. If you’re expecting a period of stress, sorrow or setbacks, think about what you can do to deal with such situations when they arise.

Practice spirituality. People who are religious or practice spirituality are generally happier. They enjoy a feeling of deeper connection with life on earth and outside it (whatever form that may take). You don’t need to be part of a spiritual or religious community to practice spirituality. Being open to the idea and reading about it is a great way to develop your spiritual side. A wonderful book on the subject of spirituality and happiness, is Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver.

Take care of yourself. A healthy body is a breeding ground for spirituality, emotional energy, and mental energy and can be a springboard for taking action. Studies involving the clinically depressed indicate that regular physical exercise results in a greater feeling of happiness. So, make being happy your choice by practicing yoga, taking a walk, being mindful of what you eat and drink.