1. Savor Today: Believe that what counts most is the here and now. 72 percent of survey respondents feel happiest when they take time to stop and enjoy the moment. 68 percent feel the same when working toward self-fulfillment.
2. Practice Self-Determination: Those who are able to choose their own direction in life are happier. One of the most important ways to do this, say 64 percent of Germans, is deciding for yourself how best to spend your time.
3. Work: Having a job to do contributes significantly to one’s sense of satisfaction in life. Of those employed full-time, 51 percent felt happy and fulfilled; only 41 percent of the unemployed felt the same.
4. Find a Fun Hobby: Whether learning to cook, joining a kickboxing club, or playing drums in a band, the German people stay active with their own hobbies.
5. Love and Be Loved: 54 percent of people in a relationship are extremely happy. For single people that number stands at 44 percent. And for 76 percent of parents, the love of their children contributes significantly to the joys of living.
6. Maintain Friendships: It’s not all bad news for single people – for them, close friends are especially important. Single people who report spending time with friends at least once a week are significantly more likely to consider themselves happy than those who stay more isolated (50 percent versus 35 percent, respectively).
7. Do Good: Good deeds pay out twice. It turns out that random acts of kindness benefit both the recipient and the doer. It’s no wonder that 61 percent of people who report being happy with life also take the time to reach out and do good.
8. Laugh: The Germans love laughing. 76 percent report laughing “often to very often”! They laugh the most around their friends and acquaintances (73 percent), followed closely by partners and family (71 percent).
9. Pursue Lifelong Learning: 49 percent of teenagers expressed feeling happy when learning. But as people age, the joys of learning only grow. Among people ages 30-45, 79 percent of respondents reported not only growing smarter through learning, but becoming happier as well.
10. Remain Curious: 68 percent of people with the strongest zest for life are open to trying new experiences, but only 56 percent of other respondents are.
About the Happiness Institute
Happiness Institute is an initiative of
 A total of 2,153 people between the ages of 14 and 69 were questioned in an in-home survey via TV screen or PC in a 2011 study. Our report focuses solely on the German participants.