Spirituality, sometimes voiced as faith, is protective against alcoholism and drug abuse. Those who hold to a spiritual existence, who sense a more universal "power" than that possessed by humans, are less likely to develop an addiction. Holding to spiritual beliefs, to faith in its secular meaning, is instrumental to recovery from a host of traumas and conditions, including addictions. In my work overseeing the mental health response to a number of major human-made and natural disasters (such as 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy), I learned that having faith was a predictor of mastering the trauma and rebuilding a life. No surprise, then, that spirituality or faith would serve individuals whose lives have been ravaged by addiction. AA makes that plain. People who have developed a spiritual dimension to their lives are better able to achieve and sustain sobriety. For most of us, procrastination can be defined as: not getting things done, even when we know that we should do them, whether or not we've considered the consequences of continuing to put those tasks off. In fact, for many, procrastination is a casual and passive practice. If you live in the United States, you're probably aware that April 15th is called "Tax Day," because it's the day by which income tax returns must be postmarked. In New York City, last-minute tax-filers race up the stairs of the General Post Office while an actor dressed as a giant aspirin bottle prances comically in front of the building. Television crews interview the late filers, who give statements like, "I made it!" or, "I'm never going to put myself through this nonsense again, never!" This is an example of casual procrastination, which everybody does at one point or another. It's no big deal. While anyone can casually procrastinate, there are other persons who procrastinate to a much higher degree. These people are habitual procrastinators. Habitual procrastinators put off many different tasks that encompass a wide variety of tasks, chores, obligations, and responsibilities. A habitual procrastinator may say that he has "a thousand and one things that he needs to attend to"; however, he not only continues to let them go, he's also constantly aware that these unattended-to duties are causing him great anguish. In comparison to casual procrastination, we could call this active procrastination, which might seem like a contradiction of terms--after all, can anyone "actively not-`do'"? Habitual procrastination becomes active when it becomes extremely pervasive in a person's life. For example, there are some habitual procrastinators who can easily come up with a list of twenty important tasks they're currently aware of, which they need to get to.

There are also other habitual procrastinators who could say, "You've got only twenty things you need to get around to doing? That's nothing!" Let's look at two gentlemen, Stan and Charlie, and see how they handle similar events. According to a Dutch proverb, it is better to have a good neighbour than a distant friend. Since 2006, the Dutch have celebrated National Neighbours' Day on 26 May. It started as an initiative to get neighbours together and has grown to become an event which is celebrated in two thousand Dutch districts. It was inspired by a survey which showed that three out of four Dutch people found that neighbourhoods which engaged in regular activities were the most pleasant to live in and was initiated by the Dutch coffee company Douwe Egberts, to get neighbours together. Later on, Douwe Egberts collaborated with the Oranjefonds, which has since 2008 provided neighbourhoods with funds to celebrate the annual day. Celebrations can range from holding a street party to having a cup of coffee with neighbours you might not usually socialize with. Make a special effort on 26 May next year to say hello to your neighbours or invite them over for a hot drink. Back in 2000, Harvard professor and political scientist Robert Putnam published Bowling Alone, about the decline of American civil society. Putnam's diagnosis was that Americans were engaging less and less with their communities and this was damaging American society as a whole. Americans were far less likely to participate in voluntary work, go to church, know their neighbours, invite friends home, go to bars, join unions or just spend time hanging out with friends (and their cats). Stan is a casual procrastinator, as much as just about anyone else is. One day, he notices that he must be developing a cavity because he feels a sensation of acute pain in his upper jaw. He doesn't particularly like the thought of going to the dentist, so he puts up with the pain for a few days while summoning up the courage to make an appointment. When the pain worsens two days later, Stan calls the dentist's office, schedules a prompt appointment, and has the cavity taken care of. Upon leaving the dentist's office, Stan says to himself, "What a relief." But people feeling depressed can experience other symptoms as well. Common symptoms include sadness, irritability, anxiety, apathy, loss of energy, loss of pleasure in things previously enjoyed, changes in sleep and appetite, recurring thoughts of death, physical agitation, feelings of worthlessness, and concentration problems. While all these symptoms can occur in depression, a depressed mood and loss of pleasure are usually considered to be the most common symptoms, and they are the ones most likely to lead to a depression diagnosis. Though people in their late twenties to mid-thirties seem particularly vulnerable to depression, symptoms can develop at any age.

Older adults and even teenagers and young children have been known to commit suicide because they couldn't handle the symptoms they were experiencing. As we will see in the next question, there are numerous different diagnoses that can be given to someone who is experiencing symptoms of depression. It is typically the job of a qualified mental health professional to make that diagnosis, and over time, the diagnosis can change as well. Though these diagnostic labels can seem arbitrary, they do play a role in the kind of treatment that someone might need to get better and can also provide some clues as to the underlying cause as well. Among the things a health professional will look at in making an assessment is whether or not the depression has an obvious cause. Many people will develop reactive depression following a traumatic experience or due to grief after the death of a loved one. While this kind of grief is certainly common, it can also lead to a deep depression that may require medication or supportive counseling. On the other hand, depression can also strike out of the blue with no apparent cause at all. This is often called endogenous depression (literally coming from within), though many people developing depression may show signs of both. But while symptoms of depression can manifest on their own, people suffering from other illnesses, including Parkinson's disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, can also become depressed, often to the point of making these conditions far worse than they need to be. Also, older adults who are depressed often develop symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer's disease, at least in the very early stages. This can make early diagnosis very difficult in many cases and may also lead to older patients being afraid to see their doctors about their symptoms. So, loneliness is bad for happiness. Mind-blowing, right? More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle pointed out that man is a social animal; and, in the 1940s, Maslow's pyramid of human needs showed how love and belonging come just after basic safety and physiological needs. Today, modern happiness research using big data echoes those findings. What the UN World Happiness Report shows us is that roughly three-quarters of the difference in the happiness levels between the countries of the world comes down to six factors. One of them is social support. We will look at the other five in the chapters to come. Social support is measured by asking whether people have somebody they can rely on in times of need.

It is a binary and very crude way of measuring it, but we have data on it from around the globe, and it does determine happiness levels. Fortunately, across the countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), 88 per cent of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need. People in New Zealand, Iceland and Denmark feel most secure. In these countries, 95 per cent or above believe their friends have their back in times of need, while people in Hungary, Korea and Mexico report the lowest level of confidence with 82, 76 and 75 per cent, respectively. A couple of years ago, I called my bank to see if I could borrow some money to buy a place to live. When I said that I studied happiness for a living, the man on the other end of the line went awfully quiet. Long story short, I was in my mid-thirties, single, and spent the next couple of months on my friend's couch with his two cats. You know, living the dream. But I didn't despair: I knew people had my back. The top predictor of success is emotional intelligence and control - not athletic ability, money, confidence, looks, height, race, family name, friends, and even, education. It's the ability to get your emotions out of the way so you can do your job, move forward, and stay on track. Recognize when your emotions are getting in the way and hindering your ability to think, focus, and perform. Instead of feeling committed to remaining emotionally-transparent, start thinking, reflecting, and strategizing the way a chess or poker champion would. Revealing your emotions makes it easier for others to lose respect for you, take advantage of you, and destroy you. It gives them the unfair advantage. They own you. They corner you. The playing field is uneven. It's immature and lazy not to control your emotions. It's irresponsible.

It's weak. It makes you look like a jackass and a crazy person. You can't trust emotionally-weak and out-of-control people. You can't depend on them. It's hard to respect them. It's hard to like them. They devalue themselves. When you start thinking revealing your emotions is a good idea, remember it's a waste of your time and it will, more than likely, backfire. Think to yourself, "If I don't keep it together and calm down, will this set me back? Will I look weak? Will I lose my peers respect? Will I lose trust?" This is very real and important. Forget the, "I don't give a damn what people think!" attitude that you lazily use across the board. Others losing respect for you because you're emotionally-weak and them laughing at you because you're a horrible dancer are two very different things. You're surrounded by sharks waiting to taste blood. Waiting for weakness and vulnerability. Waiting for their next target. Waiting to screw you over. Waiting to take advantage of you. To avoid putting yourself in compromising positions, control your emotions.