5 Ways to Find Happiness

By Nicole Yorio, REDBOOK

Here are five easy steps to boost your mood and be at your happiest.

1. Short-circuit the negative. Every time you think a negative thought, replace it with a positive one. Instead of fuming if a car cuts you off, think, This is a reminder for me to drive safely. You can also stave off dark thoughts by inserting sunny ones into your daily routine: Recite a mantra like "Life is good" whenever something goes right.

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2. Do a joy inventory. Each night, jot down or make a mental list of three things, big or small, that brought a smile to your face that day (you got a seat on the bus; your boss loved your proposal). This happy list will keep your optimism soaring. The more you look out for life's little joys, the more of them you'll find.

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3. Inspire others to smile. Compliment the checkout clerk at the grocery store or help a sick friend. Making someone else feel good has a boomerang effect: Seeing their joy, and knowing you made it happen, gives you a warm glow. Plus, when you value others' well-being, you learn to be kinder to yourself, too-and you become happier as a result.

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4. Lighten your load. It's easy to neglect the things you want to do for the things you've gotta do (such as tackling that stack of unopened mail). So build joy boosters into your day: For every "should" you cross off your list, give yourself a treat-even something as simple as taking five minutes to sit and daydream.

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5. Celebrate the changes. As you put these ideas to work, tune in to how you're responding. Maybe you're smiling more or there's a new spring in your step. Really bask in the feeling so you'll be motivated to stick with your joyful habits. And remember: Happiness is a journey guided by the belief that you can always choose joy.
Read more: Tips For Finding Happiness and Improving Your Mood - Redbook

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.