long-lasting benefits for a happy life because it improves: - How healthy we are - How well we communicate - How good we are at cooperating Do you live near sports facilities? People who do are more likely to play sports—and they report higher levels of happiness, too. Did You Know? 55% of Olympians and other athletes say being in love improves their performance. Why? - Their feelings of euphoria transfer to the game. - Their partner lightens the burden of other responsibilities. 26.3 million Americans play basketball, more than any other sport, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. 1 in 4 recreational basketball players are women! SPORTS AND "FLOW" Attention All Ski Bums! Being totally "in the zone" is what's most satisfying about skiing and snowboarding, according to a recent study at a ski resort. The psychological state of complete absorption in an activity is known as "flow." Elite athletes report that these factors help them reach flow: - Being well-prepared for the challenge - Having high levels of motivation - Having the right level of energy - Having a clear plan for the performance - Staying focused on the task - Remaining confident - Experiencing good team work - Managing distractions The good news? All of these factors are within our control. To maximize your own flow: 1) Start with a sport that you enjoy. 2) Set clear goals that are: • Challenging • …but achievable! 3) Eliminate distractions. SPORTS FANS AND HAPPINESS Our 3 Favorite Sports Football: 39% Baseball: 14% Basketball: 12% SOURCE: GALLUP Studies consistently show that people who call themselves sports fans tend to have lower rates of depression, less stress, and higher self-esteem than non-sports-fans. Also, fans of local teams are generally happier than fans of non-local teams. Why? Daniel Wann, Ph.D. says that it creates opportunities for social bonding. It can lead to close friendships and at the very least, the feeling that you're part of a community. Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators by Daniel Wann, Ph.D. Boston.com article too $13.4 billion (with a B!) How much American companies lose in employee productivity to time spent playing fantasy football Underdogs and Villains Research from Oregon State University suggests that we enjoy watching sports more when we'