5 Things Will Make You Happier

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Research-backed habits that will improve your outlook and positive attitude

 

1. A really good cup of coffee. Preferably it’s a hefty size—none of this “tall” stuff for me.

 

2. A Duke University study shows that exercise may be just as effective as drugs in treating depression, without all the side effects and expense. Other research shows that in addition to health benefits, regular exercise offers a sense of accomplishment and opportunity for social interaction, releases feel-good endorphins, and boosts self-esteem.

 

3. Having a vacation lined up. I do well with specifics. If I know I’m leaving for Destination X on Date Y, I have a getaway to look forward to. It’s something to remember when I’m busy pounding out stories on my laptop. I do better this way than when I have a “Yeah, we’ll do something this summer, not sure what.” kind of plan in place. No specifics equals nothing to reach for for me.

 

4. Friday night, a bottle of white wine and a movie rental. Can’t also forget that our kids are asleep, the hubby is there and a bowl of air-popped popcorn drizzled with butter. Virtually a ritual in my house.

 

5. Spend more time with family and friends. Having friends can save your life. Low social interaction can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as bad for your health as obesity. Even if you’re busy you can find ways to connect with people you care about. Use your lunch breakas an opportunity to call a friend or, if possible, take a walk together. If you’re busy during the week, how about inviting your friend to do some errands together on the weekend?

 

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