Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Encore Presentation: Happiness and Your Health
Aired November 23, 2006 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. Here's what's making news this afternoon.
Baghdad, a city under curfew after a series of coordinated attacks in Sadr City. Nearly 150 people were killed, more than 200 hurt. It's the deadliest attack in a single area since the Iraq War began.
A hostage standoff in Chicago, now in its eleventh hour. Police say a gunman's holding two women. As far as they know, no one has been hurt. Members of the gunman's family on the scene, trying to help police negotiate with him.
Bloodhounds have been brought in to help to search for two missing children in Minnesota. The two and four year-olds disappeared from a yard yesterday on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. No indication yet if they wandered off or perhaps were snatched.
A vigil in Atlanta for a 92 year-old woman killed in a gunfight with police. Narcotics officers raided the woman's home Tuesday armed with a search warrant for a man selling drugs. Only Katherine Johnston (ph) was there, armed with a gun. Her relatives and neighbors say police had the wrong house.
And earthquake reported off Big Island of Hawaii. It was an estimated 5.0 magnitude quake. So far no reports of damage or injuries, and no tsunami warning issued.
Feeling happy about Thanksgiving? I hope so.
Up next, a CNN SPECIAL REPORT. Dr. Sanjay Gupta unveils the connection between happiness and your health.
Those are the headlines this hour. Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course we all want to achieve happiness.
SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: You can't miss it. Some babies are happier than others. Are we just born with a certain personality?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a happy baby. I was a happy kid. I think that I just have good brain chemistry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: If you're not born happy, are you doomed?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nature certainly plays a substantial role in how happy we are. But it's not the whole story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a great believer in the capacity of the brain to shape and to reshape itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happiness is the core motivation for all human behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Tonight, on medicine's frontier: HAPPINESS AND YOUR HEALTH.
Hello and welcome. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. For years, doctors have been studying depression. But now they're seeing what they might learn from happy people. And it's no laughing matter.
Happiness not only makes you feel good, it could lead to a longer and healthier life as well. Anyone can make themselves happier. And over the next hour, we'll show you how.
GUPTA (voice-over): We'll begin in Binghamton, New York with two brothers and one remarkable story.
That's Roger Brooks on the left and Tony Milosi on the right.
TONY MILOSI: I'm better looking of the two. It's obvious.
GUPTA: These big hearted identical twins were split up at birth. Milosi was adopted at six weeks and grew up surrounded by close friends and a loving family.
Brooks toughed it out in an orphanage until he was four-years old. After his adoption, he was raised by a single mom and bounced around 11 different schools. And yet...
ROGER BROOKS: I never looked at my life as a tough life. I was always happy.
Look at this!
I believe Tony's the same way.
GUPTA: Though each knew he had a twin, they grew up apart and never met until they were 24-years old when Roger was living in Miami and had a chance encounter in a diner. BROOKS: One evening I was in a pancake house having coffee with my good friend Ray Scott and his wife. And there was a bus boy in there that saw me and had just left Buffalo, New York, working for my brother. And he thought I was Tony Milosi. And he approached the table and says, "Tony?"
GUPTA: A few phone calls later, they were reunited. The story was an international sensation.
MILOSI: The telephone rang. I says hello. And it was my mother calling me long distance from Binghamton. She says Tony, Tony, she says guess what happened? Guess what happened?
What happened, what happened?
No, you got to guess what happened. I got good news for you. I says come on, mom, you're calling long distance. What happened? She said they find your brother. I said what? Your brother, they find your brother.
BROOKS: It was three months later that we saw each other for the first time, January 10th, 1963, which perhaps was one of the happiest days of my life.
MILOSI: It was the happiest day of my life. You're finding a piece of yourself that was missing all those years. That's complete happiness.
NANCY SEGAL, DR.: Twins have a lot to teach us about how happy all of us are.
GUPTA: Dr. Nancy Segal has spent her professional lifetime studying twins. She's a twin herself. She's especially interested in twins who are raised apart. In these unusual pairs, she can separate the effects of environment from the influence of genes.
SEGAL: The amazing thing is is that your twin, your identical twin, is a better predictor of how happy you'll be 10 years from now, and how much money you make, how religious you are, and your current health.
GUPTA: Segal says 80 percent of our personality is genetic.
SEGAL: They're just guys who exude this warmth and enthusiasm and optimism. Raised apart, where does this come from? It's their basic human nature.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twins like Roger and Tony are also helping us understand better how we develop both physically and mentally.
GUPTA: Most research agrees. Happiness is shaped far more by genes than outside events, even something as dramatic as winning the lottery or suffering a catastrophic injury. Here's Harvard Professor Daniel Gilbert.
DANIEL GILBERT, AUTHOR, "STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS": What we find in our research is the good things aren't as good for as long as you think they are. And so this is also true of the bad.
SEGAL: Certain good fortunes will boost us up a little bit higher. And misfortunes will bring us a bit lower. We kind of bounce back around that middle set point.
GUPTA: But genes aren't everything. Through practice, we can raise that set point and make ourselves happier. More on that later.
A group that reports a high level of happiness are Buddhist monks like the Dalai Lama.
GILBERT: It's funny you brought up the Dalai Lama, but one time I had an opportunity to chat with him. We were talking about Buddhism as a way of ridding oneself of negative emotion.
I said you know what we in science, you know what we call an animal that can't feel fear or anxiety? He said no. I said we call it dinner.
GUPTA: Gilbert says if it's hard to be happy, blame evolution. Fear and anxiety helped our ancestors avoid predators. Despite that, the Founding Fathers said it was our unalienable right to pursue happiness. And we do with a vengeance.
Americans will spend $750 million on self help books this year and more than $1 billion on motivational speakers. The number of personal coaches has doubled in the past five years. And more than 100 colleges offer classes on positive psychology, including Harvard where it's the most popular class at the entire university.
BARBARA FREDERICKSON, UNIVERSITY OF CAROLINA: A problem or a potential problem...
GUPTA: And this freshmen seminar at the University of North Carolina.
FREDERICKSON: It's both a traditional course in terms of studying what the science of psychology is doing and also a really applicable course about life and how to live it.
GUPTA: Some would say Americans are obsessed with happiness, but Professor Robert Biswas-Diener, known to colleagues as the Indiana Jones of positive psychology, says that all people everywhere want to be happy.
ROBERT BISWAS-DIENER, CENTER FOR APPLIED POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: It turns out that yes, there's good evidence that people express at least some fundamental emotions like disgust, anger, happiness in a very similar way all around the world.
GUPTA: From the most traditional cultures to the most modern, he says happiness around the world depends heavily on close family and other human relationships.
MILOSI: What makes me happy is my family. I love being with my family, and my grandchildren. You know, some people say, well, if I was rich, I would be really happy. Not true, not true.
GUPTA: Intuitively, most people know this. In our exclusive CNN poll, 52 percent said that family was the most important factor in their happiness. 20 percent ranked faith at the top. And 16 percent said health far ahead of leisure time, success, or money. 39 percent called happiness extremely important. Another 43 percent said it was very important.
GILBERT: Happiness is the core motivation for all human behavior. The first thing to recognize is that although happiness is a noun in English, which gives you the idea that it's an object that if you could only find it, you would then own it, that's not what happiness is. Happiness is a place you get to visit. You don't get to buy a house there.
GUPTA: But if happiness is a vacation getaway, Tony and Roger booked their rooms a long time ago.
BROOKS: The very first thing I said to him, I put my arm around him and said hi, I haven't seen you in 24.5 years. That broke the ice.
GUPTA: A few years ago, the twins got one more thing they'd always wanted. They met their birth mother for the first time.
BROOKS: And I'm glad that that occurred, I'm glad that happened in our life.
GUPTA: The woman who gave them life and maybe their sunny outlook. Whether or not it's in the genes, some people are just happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's much more ahead. But first...
GUPTA: In the anatomy of a smile, some scientists can unlock the hidden essence of a grin. After a controversial and contested loss...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I offer my concession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: ...Al Gore was still smiling. But it wasn't easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this particular smile, what you see is a lot of tightness in the lips, evidence of the (INAUDIBLE) pulling the lip corners a bit sideways. A little bit stronger feeling of tension.
GUPTA: A movie star's Broadway debut.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a really different smile for her. Typically, Julia Roberts has one of the great open mouth smiles of all time. Here, she's pressing her lips together and tightening the lower corners of her lips, but is seeming a bit more modest.
GUPTA: And who hasn't wondered what this woman is thinking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So why is this smile so mysterious? The eyes have some of the signs of real happiness. The pouching of the lower eyelids, the narrowing of the eye.
Yet the smile itself is so subtle. And in fact, there's a very, very slight lip press, which is a different muscle movement, which suggests that she's inhibiting something. That's the great mystery of this painting is what is she inhibiting? That is the grist of the mill for our historians, but it's a wonderful smile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, just what's so funny? Is laughter really the best medicine?
And later, the surprising secrets of happy people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I'm very happy. And at the moment, I'm very grateful.
GUPTA: Can you teach that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And still ahead, optimism versus pessimism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laughter clubs are cropping up all over. Miserable isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I was coaching them, I'd say it's a great start, but now what are you going to do with your life? You need to feel like your life is important, significant, unique, special. We need love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, do they just get two seals to come up and they dress them in clown outfits?
TIME STAMP: 2214:23
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, big breath in.
SANJAY GUPTA, HOST (voice-over): Every morning on Laguna Beach, California, you'll find a group gathered on the sand laughing. There are no jokes. No punch lines. They're laughing for no reason at all. You're probably laughing just watching this.
It's called laughter yoga, led by Jeffrey Briar.
JEFFREY BRIAR, LAGUNA LAUGHTER CLUB: You can generate happiness from laughter. You can start feeling terrible. Laugh with other people and you will create happiness.
GUPTA: Before you write this off as just another off the wall California fad, you should know laughter yoga was the brainchild of Indian Dr. Madan Kataria. He was doing research for an article called, "Laughter, the Best Medicine," when he got the idea.
MADAN KATARIA, DR., LAUGHTER CLUB CREATOR: I was a very serious physician practicing medicine in India. I never laughed so much because I don't have a great sense of humor. It just came from - and suddenly, 4:00 in the morning I got this idea, why not start a laughter club?
GUPTA: What began with five people in a Mumbai park in 1995 has spread to more than 5,000 laughter clubs in 50 countries like Korea, Israel, and Germany.
KATARIA: You don't need any sense of humor to laugh. You don't need to be happy in order to laugh. In fact, when you laugh, you develop your sense of humor. You develop the joy within yourself.
GUPTA: More than that, Kataria says the breathing and laughing of laughter yoga will improve your health, even if you have to fake the laughter.
It's a claim backed up by Lee Berk at Loma Linda University. Berk has spend more than 30 years studying how laughter affects what's going on in our bodies.
Berk has found laughter decreases stress hormones, improves our immune system, and boosts endorphins. Those are the brain chemicals associated with the runner's high.
Exercise and its good effects on health have become widely known. I mean, I think no one would disagree with that now. Is that where we're going to get with laughter?
LEE BERK, LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY: I'm thinking we may get there with the same sort of prescription for laughter of maybe 30 minutes a day, three or four times a week, if not more.
GUPTA: Sounds like a pretty good prescription?
BERK: It's enjoyable.
GUPTA: In a year long study of heart patients, Berk asked one group to choose half an hour of comedy daily. Some chose the sitcom "Friends."
PHOEBE: Yes, and you know, given my life long search for irony, you can imagine how happy I am.
GUPTA: Others received the same medical care without the comedy. The group that laughed required fewer medications such as beta blockers and nitroglycerine.
Most striking, over the 12 months of the experiment, only 8 percent of the group that laughed suffered a second heart attack compared with 42 percent of the control group.
BERK: Now if you or I had discovered a medication that did that, we'd be on our way probably to Stockholm or to Sweden.
GUPTA: You'd be getting the Nobel Prize.
GUPTA: Even the anticipation of laughter produces some of the same beneficial results, offering evidence of what Berk calls the biology of hope.
RICHARD DAVIDSON, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: What we have here is a series of brain images that reflect the state of the brain when a person is made to experience happiness.
GUPTA: Dr. Richard Davidson, one of the world's leading experts on the mind-body connection, says he's located where happiness lives in the brain -- the left prefrontal cortex.
Negative emotions such as fear and anxiety show up on the other side of the brain, the right free frontal cortex.
Davidson is at the forefront of research using the latest brain imaging technology to search for how a positive disposition affects our health. Already, Davidson has found that people who are upbeat have a stronger immune response when they're given a flu vaccine. That means a positive outlook actually makes you less likely to get the flu.
DAVIDSON: In general, there are data showing better health outcomes among optimists compared to pessimists on a number of different measures.
GUPTA: Population studies offer more evidence of the benefits of being upbeat. Optimists live about seven years longer on average.
Davidson is also studying the power of meditation. It won't make you happier necessarily, he says, but even beginners at meditation can reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body and improve their immune response.
DAVIDSON: I am a great believer in the capacity of the brain to shape and to reshape itself. GUPTA: Few exert more power to shake their emotional state than Buddhist monks. Davidson calls them the Olympic athletes of medication, making them ideal candidates for his research.
He's been studying Buddhist monks for two decades at the invitation of the Dalai Lama, whom he meets with from time to time. Davidson recalls one meeting where a Japanese scientist asked the Dalai Lama about happiness.
DAVIDSON: The Japanese scientists said your holiness, there's one question I've really been wanting to ask you for a long, long time. Please tell us about the time in your life when you were the most happy, which I thought was kind of an interesting question to ask the Dalai Lama. And just like that, the Dalai Lama said right now.
GUPTA: Dr. Kataria, who began the laughter club movement, says people who laugh are like the Dalai Lama living in the moment.
KATARIA: Joyfulness makes you feel good immediately. It's now. And that's what children do. And I want all -- everybody in this world to live like a child, now, just now.
GUPTA: So what if you're not happy by nature? Well, pretend you are, and you can still reap the benefits. Seek out friends. Take care of yourself. Listen to your doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD LEWIS, COMEDIAN: I'm going to get material out of watching that segment. Believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Richard Lewis. More from him later.
But next, what drugs teach us about natural happiness. And antidepressants for someone who's not depressed? We'll explain right after this.
TIME STAMP: 2224:00
GUPTA (voice-over): It's karaoke night in Las Vegas. And that's Troy Dayton, smiling as usual.
TROY DAYTON: I'll be asleep and having a dream. And I will like gutterly laugh my way awake. And that's a wonderful feeling. What a great way to wake up. GUPTA: One reason he might be so happy, he takes a medication that's supposed to treat depression, even though Dayton says he has never been depressed.
DAYTON: I started taking Wellbutrin I guess about two and a half years ago because I wanted help quitting smoking cigarettes.
GUPTA: Wellbutrin helps people quit by blocking chemicals in the brain, the chemicals that keep smokers hooked.
DAYTON: But way beyond that, Wellbutrin makes me feel great. I mean, it doesn't mean that I don't ever experience sadness, but I think it certainly helps me experience sadness in a very healthy way.
GUPTA: Not so, say medical professionals like Dr. Nora Volkow, who runs the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She says it's a bad idea to take an antidepressant unless you're clinically depressed and under a doctor's care.
NORA VOLKOW, DR., DIR., NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE: The antidepressants are to be prescribed for the disease of depression.
GUPTA: Volkow is an expert on drugs and the brain. She says Wellbutrin boosts the brain chemical dopamine, which is strongly linked to addictions, including cigarettes. It's also linked to pleasure.
VOLKOW: It can make things a little bit more exciting. It can give them a sense of energy.
GUPTA: Chocolate, a passionate kiss, a celebration, all trigger the release of dopamine and other pleasure chemicals -- serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, and more.
Unlike Wellbutrin, most antidepressants focus on serotonin. They're called SSRIS. In essence, they prevent serotonin from being reabsorbed by the brain, sort of like plugging up your drain, keeping the water in the sink.
Psychiatrists differ on how much SSRIS and Wellbutrin really affect people who aren't suffering clinical depression. More than 10 million Americans take antidepressants. And yet, even psychiatrists aren't sure how they work.
JULIE HOLLAND, DR., NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: I still think that our understanding of the brain is really sort of in its infancy.
GUPTA: Dr. Julie Holland is a New York psychiatrist.
HOLLAND: The SSRIs that I like to prescribe take really - take about two or three weeks before people start to feel them. The full effects probably won't kick in to four to six weeks, or six to eight weeks.
This is a big question in psychiatry is exactly what's going on in the brain? Well, why don't you feel it - you know, I mean, you take ecstasy, an hour later you feel it.
GUPTA: Holland is one of a small number of psychiatrists seeking to study the effects of NDMA, or ecstasy as an aid to therapy in a tightly controlled clinical setting.
Ecstasy may be illegal, but it hits the same brain receptors as legal antidepressants. In fact, if you're taking both, ecstasy won't have the same effect. The receptors can't absorb both drugs at the same time.
Back to Troy Dayton. He may not look it, but Dayton is a political lobbyist. He spent the last few months in Nevada asking religious leaders to help loosen the laws against marijuana. His opinions are a little unusual, but what's really unusual is that he's so willing to discuss them.
For example, he admits taking ecstasy, also known as MDMA about once a year.
DAYTON: It's an altered state of consciousness. My description of the Grand Canyon is that you've never seen so much space in your life. There's awe there. I sometimes feel that kind of thing on MDMA.
GUPTA: Of course, medical professionals point out that MDMA, like other illegal drugs, can be extremely dangerous. Dr. Volka says ecstasy can damage neurons and in some people, deplete the natural supply of serotonin. That can lead to panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
Government statistics say ecstasy leads to some 8,000 emergency room visits a year, mostly for overheating and dehydration.
Different drugs affect different sensors. Cocaine and amphetamine flood the brain with mood enhancing dopamine. MDMA does as well, but more important, releases a wave of serotonin.
HOLLAND: The other thing that you get with serotonin is you get very relaxed. It's sort of an anti-anxiety neurotransmitter.
GUPTA: A drug high is not a natural high, but Dr. Volka says for some addicts and other users, in the short term, it feels the same.
VOLKA: People that are taking them, they'll say it's more potent than an intense orgasm.
GUPTA: In fact, Volka says many illegal drugs including MDMA trigger the same hot spots as pleasures like sex, or chocolate, or good fortune. Because in the brain, much of the chemistry is the same.
VOLKA: So yes, indeed, it is the same neurotransmitter that is involved in transmitting the sense of well being, when you win the lottery, when you have finished doing a six-mile run, and you win number one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Troy.
DAYTON: Good morning.
GUPTA: For all his experimenting, Dayton says he doesn't rely on drugs to stay happy. He stays busy. Work. Singing. Packing for a week-long camping trip and doing yoga three or four times a week.
But what about taking a pill he doesn't need? Dayton knows it's controversial.
DAYTON: I think however someone can attain a sustainable level of happiness without harming or hurting anybody else is something that should be celebrated and not questioned.
GUPTA: They say what Troy is doing is not only illegal, but endangers his health.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a philosophical question. I mean, you know, short of doing very advanced sort of PET scans where you're looking at receptors and neurotransmitter levels and things like this, it's hard to say who, you know, really deserves to take antidepressants and who -- for whom it's a luxury.
GUPTA: And yet, for lasting happiness, Collin (ph) says that family and friends are still the best medicine.
PHILLIPS: Right after the break, we'll tell you how to be happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody wants to do it, and the reason is we believe we're unique.
PHILLIPS: Also, more results of our exclusive CNN poll.
GUPTA: Does money buy happiness?
PHILLIPS: Later, how to stay happy at work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little blip of unhappiness here.
PHILLIPS: And still to come, Richard Lewis and Tony Robbins.
Don't go away.
RICHARD LEWIS, COMEDIAN: The whole family was depressed. It was, like, every holiday they brought up people who died on certain holidays to ruin the meal. Our Thanksgiving was ruined. They put black arm bands around the wings.
TONY ROBBINS, SELF-HELP ADVISOR: I don't think being happy is the goal. I think the goal is living life and finding meaning.
PHILLIPS: That's Richard Lewis and Tony Robbins.
Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
GUPTA: Now, money can't buy happiness. Or can it?
Smile and the world smiles with you. Really? We're about to sort fact from fiction when it comes to happiness and learn the secrets of two very happy people.
SUSAN SHAW, "FARMER SUE," THE ART BARN: All right. I need to see some serious smiling, you guys. Come on, team. Let's go!
GUPTA: Overalls and a straw hat, that's the usual work attire for Susan Shaw, better known as Farmer Sue.
SHAW: You want to try to give him a snuggle? Here we go.
All right. Show me the happy hands, and make me happy and make some beautiful pancakes, you guys. Pancakes. Pancakes.
GUPTA: Shaw has been hosting children's birthday parties and other events on her farm just north of Atlanta for seven years now. She used to run her own graphic design business.
SHAW: I have a lot less clothes, a lot less this, a lot less everything else. I love it. I would never ever go back. And, I mean, people are always goofing around with me and saying, "You are the happiest girl in the world." And I go, "Well, how could I not with art, animals and kids, my three favorite things in the whole wide world?" And I have everything I want right here.
GUPTA: Less money, more job satisfaction, more happiness. Not really surprising.
But how about this? Dan Gottlieb is doing something he loves. He's a successful radio talk show host in Philadelphia and a family therapist.
DANIEL GOTTLIEB, "DR. DAN" WHYY: That's tomorrow at noon right here on WHYY 91 FM.
At the moment I'm very happy. And at the moment I'm very grateful.
GUPTA: What may surprise you is that Gottlieb is paralyzed from the chest down, the result of a freak accident. A truck tire bouncing across the highway crushing his car and his spine. He says he's happier now than before his accident.
GOTTLIEB: I'm a happy man. But I would have struggled with that question when I was 30 years old.
GUPTA (on camera): Dan Gilbert, I mean, does any of this strike you as unusual? I mean, obviously a very traumatic event.
DANIEL GILBERT, AUTHOR, "STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS": Studies suggest that most people who are in Dan's situation lead reasonably happy lives. That surprises most of us, because we can't imagine that if we were in this chair we would be anything but depressed forever and ever.
GUPTA (voice over): Gottlieb says he's very happy. Even after everything he's been through -- his accident, then a divorce, and more recently the deaths of his sister, who was his best friend, his mother, and his father.
GOTTLIEB: All things go. We lose everything, including our youth, our health, our lives, our loved ones. Things go. But if we can hold on to what's most precious -- and that's emotions -- like love and gratitude and awe, they can't be taken away.
GUPTA: Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert studies what makes people happy. He's found most people are incredibly bad at predicting what will give them joy.
(on camera): Does money buy happiness?
GILBERT: Well, you bet it does if you're living under a bridge in a cardboard box, because when people are moved from abject poverty into the middle class, their happiness increases dramatically. But it stops increasing thereafter. Once we have basic needs met, once we're not afraid for our safety, once we have food and shelter, more money can make you a little more happy, but not much.
And the difference between earning $5,000 a year and $50,000 a year is dramatic. But the difference between $50,000 and $300,000 isn't dramatic. So money seems to have this decreasing effect. The more of it we get, the less good each dollar is.
GUPTA (voice over): If money or health aren't keys to happiness, how about youth? People surveyed for this special said they thought 31 is the happiest age. Wrong again.
So what does bring us happiness? According to a Pew Research Center survey, age. Older people are happier than younger.
The happiest? Men, 65 and older. The least happy, men, 18 to 29.
Education: College graduates are happier than high school grads.
Religion: Religious people are happier than those who aren't religious.
Climate: Sun belt residents are happier than residents elsewhere in the United States.
Marriage: Married people are happier than singles.
Political affiliation: Republicans are happier than Democrats. Both are happier than Independents.
No kids: Married couples with no children are happier than those with kids.
The least happy group? Single parents with children under 18.
Wait a minute. Couples with children are less happy? After all, a CNN poll found that more than three-quarters of parents surveyed, 77 percent, said having children made them much happier. Only two percent said children made them less happy. But Daniel Gilbert said the results are different if you ask parents in the moment.
GILBERT: When you follow people throughout their days and look at how happy they are as they're going about normal activities, people are about as happy interacting with their children on average as when they're doing housework. They're much less happy than when they're exercising, sleeping, grocery shopping, hanging out with their friends. That doesn't mean they don't occasionally create these transcendent moments of joy that we remember as filling our days with happiness.
GUPTA: Gilbert has some very simple advice on how to predict if something will make you happy.
GILBERT: If I wanted to know what a certain future would feel like to me, I'd find somebody who's already living in that future. If I wondered what it's like to become a lawyer or to marry a busy executive or to eat at a particular restaurant, my best bet is to find people who have actually done these things and see how happy they are. But nobody wants to do it, and the reason is we believe we're unique.
GUPTA: Gilbert says we're not so different after all, at least when it comes to happiness. Remember Nancy Segal? She's the Cal State Fullerton professor who looks at genes and happiness. She, too, has some advice.
SEGAL: I think the thing to do to make ourselves happier every day is simply to fine those small things that give us little bits of pleasure, whether it's cooking a certain meal, or knitting a sweater, or dancing, or just taking a walk to the park. Those are things we can all do, we can make time for them.
That's the key. And I think that it's much easier to do that than to rely on one great boost of fortune to keep us going.
GUPTA: Dan Gottlieb says happiness boils down to love and gratitude for family and friends.
GOTTLIEB: I strongly encourage anyone I care about, anyone I know to love who we love, only do it better. Know how their eyes look when they're happy, know how they hold their shoulders when they're tired, love them better. And then tomorrow love one more person that much. And the more people we love that much, the more secure, the happier, the more grateful we'll be. And that we have control over, who we love and how we love them.
GILBERT: I'm not sure science can improve on that. That was beautiful.
GUPTA: Susan Shaw says your happiness depends on giving to others.
SHAW: I am the happiest girl in the entire world, and when I pick up the phone I always go, "Morning Glory Farms, where everything is fabulous." And if you get to do what you love all day long, there's no way that you won't smile all day.
Give me a big farm five. How about a farm three today? Good job. Happy birthday, my love.
All right. Come on.
PHILLIPS: Coming up, what happens when this boss says be happy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would question their motivation, yes.
PHILLIPS: What you can learn from a happy office makeover.
We'll be right back.
GUPTA (voice over): Gloomy as it looks on the outside, inside this office building it may be worse. Focus Solution Groups is a British software defendant company in transition. The new CEO says profits are lagging and the workers are apparently unhappy.
RICHARD STEVENSON, CEO, FOCUS SOLUTIONS GROUP: We can't treat people as a commodity. If you've got good people on board, make sure that they're productive, make sure that they're happy, make sure they're going to stay with you.
GUPTA: So Stevenson hired Philippa and Jess and their iOpener team of consultants to transform Focus into a happier place.
JESS PRYCE-JONES, iOPENER: We focus on happiness at work because there is a clear link with the bottom line. So happiness leads to profit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me happy. GUPTA: Happiness at work? The U.K. isn't exactly known for being, well, happy.
PHILIPPA CHAPMAN, iOPENER: They don't like to talk about happy, which is ironic, isn't it? Because actually, from the word go when we were kids, what do our parents want for us? They just want us to be happy.
GUPTA: But even a really unsexy company can be really progressive in its thinking.
STEVENSON: It's becoming part and parcel of managing a work force, making sure that people are, you know, reasonably content with where they are, what they're doing. And, yes, OK, the happiness label is attached to it, but I'm more interested really in productive work forces and what they're going to deliver.
VAUGHAN DUTTON, iOPENER: They're looking at the content (ph) of this graphic and seeing there's a little blip of unhappiness here.
GUPTA: iOpener had Focus employees fill out happiness surveys which asked them how they felt about things like job security, respect from co-workers, et cetera. Where 100 percent means you're really happy, one in five people scored below 40 percent.
PRYCE-JONES: And we do transformations through thinking about happiness at work.
GUPTA: The transformation begins with a day of workshops, identifying problems and then building upon positive ideals.
PRYCE-JONES: There is clear research to show that when you follow happiness principles, you are less sick, you're less stressed, you're more creative, you have better interactions with your colleagues, and you get promoted.
GUPTA: They also say there's less turnover, more overtime, and people steal fewer office supplies.
CHAPMAN: What can you learn from it and how can you take it forward?
GUPTA: iOpener's work is rooted in the field of positive psychology, including research by Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson says an increase in positive emotion can open a person's mind to new ideas, and that positive emotions produce success as much as reflect it.
BARBARA FREDRICKSON, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: When business teams are able to get to this higher level, this higher ratio of positive to negative emotions, they seem to unlock a lot of resourcefulness within the team.
GUPTA: Pinpointing what really makes people at work happy they say can be eye-opening. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want to know how well they're doing. They don't feel that anybody actually tells them how well they're doing and how they -- what they need to do in order to improve. I mean, it's so -- it's such a simple thing.
GUPTA: At the end of day one everyone is given a diary to keep for a month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been said several times before. And it never actually happens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very (INAUDIBLE). It was great. A lot of (INAUDIBLE) today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very good, yes. I particularly like the psychology part in the beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm quite surprised they brought in an outside agency to help us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all very well and good coming up with a theory, but to actually put it into practice is crucial. I would question their motivation, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My red is my bad, and my blue is my good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ate lots of bad food. I was bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's in your diary?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where shall I start?
PRYCE-JONES: One of the reasons that we gave you the diary...
GUPTA: iOpener's Jess and Philippa have their first of many follow-up consultations with the management team. Making Focus happy will take some time and effort.
Will it work? Skeptics might say it's a bunch of hogwash, hooey, a waster of time and money. But iOpener's clients see it differently.
Oliver Rose heads up Puma's London operations. He believes happiness in the workplace is essential and based on a company's values. But even here underlying problems can cause a bit of unhappiness, which is why Rose hired iOpener a year ago. He says he's seen a significant return on his investment.
OLIVER ROSE, PUMA: A friction resolution assignment, that's something which has had a real impact certainly on this office in terms of lifting people's spirits and removing an impediment that was perhaps there. So, yes, I've seen direct, positive results on the ground.
GUPTA: Meantime, Philippa and Jess are putting building blocks in place that they hope will keep employees here focused on what makes them happy.
PHILLIPS: Just ahead...
LEWIS: A happiness consultant? Listen...
PHILLIPS: ... the comedian who launched a Magical Misery Tour and tells people to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" meets Mr. Optimism, Tony Robbins.
ROBBINS: So, I am very happy, but I think the impression that people have is I'm just up there jumping on stage.
LEWIS: Yes, stunningly positive.
PHILLIPS: Stay tuned.
GUPTA: Finally tonight, optimism versus pessimism.
GUPTA (voice over): Richard Lewis, the comedian, has built a career out of misery.
LEWIS: I've done a lot of specials -- I'm doomed, that I'm in pain, I'm exhausted. I'm working on "Curb Your Enthusiasm".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM")
LEWIS, ACTOR: I'm getting -- I have an irregular heart thing and this is not a good thing.
LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: Yes.
LEWIS: I'm a recovering alcoholic. This is all very bad for me.
DAVID: We're doing the litany now?
(END VIDEO CLIP, "CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM")
GUPTA: Anthony Robbins helped invent the personal coaching industry. He says you can do anything if you just put your mind to it.
ROBBINS: Learning to direct your own mind, whether the Dalai Lama talks about it or scientists talk about it or I talk about it, that's the basis of real happiness. Directing your body is part of that piece, but I really believe it starts with the mind.
LEWIS: Unhappiness is a homerun for a comedian over happiness, at least as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't have the nerve to go on stage and be remotely happy.
GUPTA (on camera): What do you do? What are you doing back stage before you go out there in front of all those people?
ROBBINS: I actually have a ritual that I've done for almost 30 years. I have a personal prayer where I say, "Please use me, Lord." And I associate to that. And then I make a physical change in my body, kind of like if you're getting ready for the game. It's like, boom.
LEWIS: He's helped millions of people, but he's so dynamic and so positive that I feel like hiding until he leaves the stage. I wilt in front of his positive -- his -- he's so forceful.
You're a positive force.
GUPTA: But can it be too much, though?
ROBBINS: I am very happy, but I get pissed off and frustrated and all those things. And I think the impression that people have is I'm just up there jumping on stage.
For me it's more like a muscle. Like an athlete. If you use the muscle day after day after day, it's not that you're so studly. It's you got those muscles because you work them out.
And happiness is a muscle. So is frustration. So is anger. So is sadness.
GUPTA: That's Richard's on screen and real life friend Larry David.
LEWIS: I always had a notion that if he actually got in touch with how wonderful his life is and how brilliant he is that it would all go away and disappear magically. You know? I think a lot of people have that fear.
ROBBINS: I think that's the tendency, to protect ourselves, so we don't have to try and we're not disappointed, we don't fail.
LEWIS: Chocolate addict, sex addict. I'm an alcoholic, I'm a drug addict. So I have to keep all of these things in control. I might even have been for a while a misery addict.
ROBBINS: What's going to give your life meaning? Because that's the only thing that gives you lasting happiness. I don't think being happy is the goal. I think the goal is living life and finding meaning.
LEWIS: Myself, you know, after I -- after 50 I actually got -- happiness became more of a part of my life because I didn't want to repeat all the miserable mistakes I'd made in the past. ROBBINS: People ask me all the time, "Are you happy?" This is the happiest time in my entire life. I really believe in the end, as corny as it may sound, you're never going to be happy by what you get. You'll be happy by what you become. And what you become comes from how you grow and how you give.
LEWIS: I think ultimately everything comes out in the wash. I love that expression. I think ultimately, you know, behind closed Buddhist doors even the most serene Buddhist can go, "Oh, God, my mother's driving me nuts."
ROBBINS: I think more people can relate to being unhappy than happy. We live in a culture that doesn't expect to be happy.
Happiness is not a lasting for most people, unhappiness is. So one way we protect ourselves is lower expectation. But I laugh -- I think Richard Lewis is funny as hell because he shows a side of all of us. I've got that side.
LEWIS: I swear to God, when I go into a concert and people laugh, although my -- my screwups, first -- for that hour or however long I'm on stage, hour and a half, I actually feel that I'm doing a service, and that I didn't suffer in vain. It's almost like I died on the therapist couch for other people's problems.
GUPTA: You need a sense of human about this. Albert Schweitzer, the doctor and humanitarian, once said happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
Whatever happiness means to you, I hope you find it.
I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks for watching.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com