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What are you willing to do to be happy?

  • Story Highlights
  • Three examples of changes people make to be happy
  • How a woman benefits from revving up her sex life
  • Another woman abandons Wall Street for the trapeze
  • Man close to Oprah Winfrey learns to laugh to drop stress
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Oprah

(Oprah.com) -- Are you truly happy? Where you live, what you do and how much sex you have just might be the answer! The biggest complainer Oprah knows is her makeup artist Reggie Wells. After a recent "Oprah Show," he agreed to take Pastor Will Bowen's complaint-free challenge. Reggie wears a purple wristband, and every time he utters a complaint, he has to change the wrist he wears it on.

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Oprah Winfrey and her makeup artist Reggie Wells share some laughter.

How did he do? Oprah says Reggie "complained so much that he was getting whiplash from changing [wrists]." For some extra help in looking on the bright side, Oprah sent him to a class in "laughing yoga."

First developed in India, Laughter Yoga is now practiced in 53 countries around the world. Reggie's instructor, Jeffrey Briar -- one of 48 certified Laughter Yoga instructors in the United States -- says Laughter Yoga's positive effects are no joke. "Laughter relieves all the negative effects of stress," he says. "It strengthens the abdominal organs and help you get those six-pack abs we're all looking for. It oxygenates the bloodstream. It releases endorphins, the body's natural painkiller."

The class starts cold, and Reggie remains cynical. "We're going to start with nothing and laugh for no reason, and you'll feel better," Jeffrey says. But as they move on to more advanced moves -- like lion laughter, naughty naughty and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- Reggie really starts to catch the laughing bug.

Reggie works up a sweat, but can he change his complaining ways? Reggie says that before his Laughter Yoga class, he was depressed. It was the Saturday before Easter, he was lonely and he doubted the class would do much to change that. "It was very goofy in the beginning ... but you can't fake a laugh," he says. "Once you get into it ... the stress lifted from my soul, it lifted from my body."

Dr. Robert Holden, author of "Happiness Now" says chronic complainers like Reggie actually live in fear of happiness. Their condition -- which he dubs "happy-chondria" -- is based on a belief that any happiness carries an eventual fall and price.

"Rather than have everything be perfect and full, I'll have it be quite good and complain," he says. "Reggie's got to dare to let life be great and trust that happiness can happen and that it can last."

One woman's courageous decision to live the life of her dreams.

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By the time she was 29, Liz was a successful banking executive on Wall Street. She made vice president in her division and earned a healthy salary. She says she had "a traditional definition of success that had a lot to do with material things," but after eight grueling years in business, Liz says she knew she was not on the road to happiness. "I felt proud, but the work was not inspiring me. I didn't have passion for that work. I felt like I had to stifle parts of myself in order to be what Wall Street wanted from me. I felt like I was playing a corporate character, like it wasn't coming from inside of me, who I really am," she says.

Liz knew that making a big change meant taking an even bigger risk. "I was about to turn 30, and I realized it was time for me to live the life I wanted for myself, not the life that other people wanted for me," she says. "It's not making me happy to sit here at this desk anymore. I cannot blame anyone else for my unhappiness. I completely believe life is short. You do not get a second chance. I was standing at an edge, and for me it was time to jump."

Liz took a 90 percent pay cut and traded the high-wire act of finance for a career as a trapeze artist!

Following her dream is "like laughter in my heart," she says. "It's hard to quantify that fulfillment that comes with it, but it greatly exceeds the compensation that I sacrificed."

Dr. Holden says the key to being happy is overcoming "destination addiction," which he defines as "living in the not-now."

"It's always about tomorrow, so you're chasing 'more,' 'next' and 'there,'" he says. "You promise yourself that when you get there, you'll be happy. And I promise you, you won't, because you'll always set another destination to go for."

Instead, Dr. Holden says if you are unhappy with your life or looking to improve your score on the satisfaction test, there are two things you can do. "We have to learn to let go of our past, we have to give up all hopes for a perfect past. Let the past go, it's gone." After that, he says, "Take a vow of kindness. Be kinder to yourself and to others.

"It's never too late to be happy," he says.

Can more sex make you happy? Find out what one woman did to rev up her sex life!

Lawreen and Randy were the average suburban couple raising two kids. But after just two years of marriage, something was missing. "After we had our kids, our sex life just kind of vanished. It wasn't a priority anymore, and if my husband wanted it, I thought it was up to him to initiate it," Lawreen says. "The lack of sex was creating unhappiness in the rest of our life. We were snapping at each other. We weren't very patient and understanding."

After seeing an "Oprah Show" about how important sex was to a marriage, Lawreen realized she needed to spice things up in a big way.

"I said, 'This is what we're going to do. We're going to have sex every night. I'm not going to tell him. I'm going to get babysitters. I'm going to make a date,'" she says. Lawreen also started dressing up, wearing more makeup, learned how to strip from DVDs and took belly dancing courses. She also took sex out of the bedroom and brought it into other places in her home.

How did Randy react? "In my mind I thought, 'I know women hit their sexual peak later,'" he says. "I did not question it at all."

Three years after Lawreen thought up this plan, their sex life is still going strong. Lawreen says she and Randy still have sex almost every night. "If we don't, it's because we're extremely exhausted or Randy's away on a business trip," Lawreen says. "Not because we don't want to."

In fact, having sex every night has brought Lawreen and Randy closer as a couple. "We're better parents. We're happier people," Lawreen says. "The more sex we have, the more touchy and more affectionate we are with one another. & So we're better parents and our kids. Oh, they pick up on this. They feel happy because Mom and Dad are happy."

Happiness expert Dr. Holden says Lawreen and Randy have the right idea. "I think the big thing, guys, which I really appreciate about you, is I think you understand that sex is communication. & So there's intimacy here," he says.

"One of the big mistakes I think we make in relationships is that we don't give our best energy to the people that matter most. And I think what you're doing is you're making that time to be able to give some of your best energy to each other." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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