D. Smith: Outlook on our lives starts by adopting a happier attitude

Happiness is something we cultivate. Happy people live longer than unhappy people and have a better quality of life.

Once you decide to be happier, you can choose strategies for achieving happiness.

Happiness is something we cultivate. Why do we want to focus on being happy?

Happy people live longer than unhappy people and they have a better quality of life. The big plus is other happy people want to be around you.

We may believe that happiness comes from being rich or beautiful; the reality is that most people who have wealth and beauty are not happier on average than those of us who do not have these perceived perks in life.

Turn a negative comment into a positive comment.

We have to practice to be happy. Our thoughts and actions influence our level of happiness. It takes personal commitment to increase our happiness level.

It is important to invest in relationships. Increase your friends and love of your family with kind words and actions.

Be gracious with critique—remember that one negative statement will take ab out eight positive statements to reduce the impact from a negative comment.

Focus on gratitude on a daily basis.  Find things every day to be grateful for. If you are a half-empty glass kind of person—develop the habit of seeing the positive side of life —to turn yourself into a half-full glass kind of optimistic person.

Find a purpose in life to enjoy.  People who have a goal or mission in life—whether it is volunteering, growing a garden, caring for family members—are happier than those who go through daily routines without a mission.

We need something to get us out of bed in the morning—what is your purpose today and tomorrow.

Relationships are key to keeping healthy. Love and relationships are key elements that correlate strongly with happiness.

Hang around with happy people —don’t allow yourself to be a sponge collecting negative energy from friends or family—get away from a negative person.

Live in the moment of now. Don’t postpone everything on our bucket list until after we retire, after we have money, or to some unknown date in the future. That day may never come to accomplish our list of places to see or people to visit.

Make things happen as planned – set personal or family goals—and take it step by step until it happens.

Engage yourself in a task that is interesting, challenging and rewarding to you. This does not have to be a difficult or long term task—just make it happen.

Make happiness your natural state. Our genes account for about 50 per cent of the variance in happiness.

The best predictors of happiness are conscientiousness, agreeableness, self esteem and optimism. These are learnable skills, and learning these skills can increase happiness.

Avoid consumerism. Purchasing materialistic things do not make people happy.

Shopping is a temporary way to pass time and is often done when a person is bored and looking for something to do.

Get moving—get outside at much as possible; listen to the birds; look at nature; enjoy the sky and the clouds.

Take the time to look at our surroundings each day—you can pretend you are seeing the universe for the first time each day

Happiness is a side effect of how we live our life daily. Happiness doesn’t appear by magic. You can learn to be happier.

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