i seem to have gotten into the habit to review each and every issue of colors magazine. although that may sound redundant, the truth is that each issue has a completely different theme and the most recent one deals with what makes us happy/depressed.

* 50% of our happiness may be genetic and unchangeable. 10% of it is variable depending on our degree of health/poverty. the rest of 40% is up to us.

* a pretty comprehensive smiling guide helping you fake a “real” smile. apparently, there is truth in the “fake it till you make it” saying.

* there is such a thing as laughing yoga. world wide, there are about 6,000 official laughter clubs. have you ever wondered what happens when you laugh? your heart rate goes up and endorphins are released into the brain so both mental and/or physical pain reduce. endorphins are also released by trauma, chili peppers, acupuncture and scratching.

* an age-old discussion topic is debated: how does humor work?

* bhutan is a kingdom that believes happiness is a place and also the only country in the world that measures the gross national happiness. for each day spent in the happy country, one tourist needs to pay 250 us dollars.

* hug an animal. unsurprisingly, animals can make us happier. in the us alone, 10,000 are registered as therapists.

although us people get a lot from petting dogs, they are actually getting more out of the experience namely regulated blood pressure and higher serotonin levels.

this type of dealing with human emotional problems is on the rise: tokyo has, beside the well-know cat cafes, about 200 pet rental stores. for a mere 1,500 yen (approx. 15 euro)/hour rate, one can enjoy the company of a pet. in certain high security prisons, taking care of a small pet made the inmates less violent. in los angeles, a program gives war veterans parrots in order to help them better deal with their post-traumatic stress disorder.

click here for advice on how to choose your animal therapist!

* there’s alot of talk about depression and how the doctors fail in seeing how it works despite the fact that pretty soon it’ll be the most frequent ailment in the world.

* suicide tourism: in switzerland, any doctor, friend or stranger can help you do it. it’s legal.

* a chinese man has a very odd hobby: he saves people from killing themselves. he knows the profile of people who want to end it by jumping off a 5 km long bridge and gives advice on their handling – if they are weak, be forceful and if they are strong, be kind.

* attend your own funeral. it may sound like a sick joke, but in south korea, it’s an exercise meant to give you a better perspective on your current life.

* japan has about 1 million hikikomori, acute social recluse.

* sitting down is killing us. if you do it for more than 6 h a day, you double your risk of depression. also, it’s 30% more probable that you will die in the next decade. but add a 15-minute walk to your daily routine and you’ll add 3 years to your life. 16 weeks of regular work outs will cure depression in an unbelievable 60%. get moving and fuck prozac!

* have you ever heard of runner’s high? the tarahumara people in mexico run 100-kilometer ultramarathons (my jaw hit the floor…) in related news, japanese monks are trying to reach enlightenment by running 80 km per day for seven years.

* the story of mdma aka ecstasy

kanna – a natural high

wanna get happy? in spite of the obvious shortcomings, getting married works. choose carefully: even if things start off better in love-based unions, it seems that arranged marriages catch up in time on the happiness front. more advice? enjoy your honey moon period, it’s not gonna last. have sex, even swing. but don’t have kids: the study says that parents report low levels of life satisfaction between the baby’s first anniversary and the moment when they leave the nest.

* what happens when you fall in love? the dopamine surge leads to norepinephrine and then to oxytocin. other ways to get an oxytocin high? get an inhaler, pet a dog, hang out on facebook (really!) or enjoy a payday.

* dr. robert epstein has a theory that two total strangers could learn how to fall in love with each other.

hire a stand-in best friend. there’s a slightly illegal service in japan that assures that you can get an actor play the part of your fiance, parent or boss.

* do you want another natural way of getting high? swim in bellow-zero water.

this post is supposed to be a teaser so go get colors! almost every time i read a new issue, i’m amazed at the great quality of the content and moved by the choice of topics. good work, colors!

photo credits: colors magazine, google search