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Habits of Happy People

Article by Sandra Prior

Hang out with joyful people

Psychologist John Gottman says that in order to consider a relationship a positive one, we need five positive interactions for every negative one. The point: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, and give a wide berth to those who criticize and deplete you.

Move consistently towards your Goals

Make commitments – and then make a point of keeping your word. ‘The greatest dreams will not be accomplished without discipline and daily effort – and that process brings joy,’ says the Reverend A.R Bernard, pastor of New York’s Christian Cultural Center. ‘It’s about doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well.’

Meditate on your Blessings

End each day by recalling three moments that made you feel truly grateful – anything from a gorgeous sunrise to the smile of a loved one. Practice sitting in quiet contemplation or prayer, says Burton, who is also the author of Listen to your Life. Then keep track of your blessings in a gratitude journal.

Be good to Yourself

Eat nourishing food and get six to eight hours of sleep every night.

Connect with Others

Be intentional about building strong bonds with other people. ‘Your social relationships are a powerful predictor of happiness, much more so than money,’ writes Daniel Gilbert in his book Stumbling on Happiness. Indeed, a 2002 University of Illinois study showed that participants who reported the highest level of happiness also reported the strongest ties to friends and family.

Go to church – any Church

A 2006 Pew Research report revealed that those who attend weekly services – of any faith – indicate that they feel much happier than those who attend once a month or less.

Give and Forgive

Holding on to resentment and anger is an emotional weight that robs you of your joy. Just let it go. ‘Happiness is spiritual peace – peace with God, with yourself and with others,’ explains Bernard. And while you’re handing out pardons, give away a few other things, too: Generosity makes us feel as if we’re making a difference by creating an environment of connection and love.

About the Author

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.

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