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Simple Pathways to a Happier You

Quick, name three things that make you happy. OK, now when was the last time you enjoyed those three things? Sometimes the secret to a happier you is as simple as asking yourself what makes you happy, and taking a look to see if you are actually doing those things. You could be so busy living you haven’t stopped to reconnect to your sources of happiness. Sound like you? Here are some simple ways to get reacquainted with the happier you.

Be grateful all day. It may sound like a tall order, but you can live daily in a state of gratitude; all you have to do is be present. Notice all those tiny things you love about your day each day. Have a little bit of appreciation for that cup of coffee in the a.m., a smile from your child, the music you love on your way to work, or the text from your best friend. It only takes seconds to notice things you love throughout your day, and the reward is great—a smiling you.

Go for imbalance. The notion of life balance gets a lot of play, as if someone somewhere is living this perfectly harmonious life where work, family, friends, sleep and play all get equal parts of your time. It’s silly. Toss out the notion of life balance and throw your life purposefully into imbalance so it leans toward the things you value the most. Phew, doesn’t that feel better already?

Get your resilience lingo ready. Have a phrase that can snap you out of a funk or a bad mood fast. Maybe it can be as simple as “I’ve got this,” or it could be funny, like “Time to pull up my big girl boots.” Just come up with a quick sentence that resonates with you.

Marinate in anticipation. Ever notice how happy you are when you are counting down the days to a fun trip or a vacation? You can be happy like that more often. Actively schedule fun things on your calendar and enjoy the happiness that comes from anticipation. Always peppering your calendar with things to look forward to is a serious mood booster.

Get your heart into it. If you want to be happier, exercise. This isn’t a public service message, but real science. Researchers at Penn State University found that exercisers have greater feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Plus, exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol, releases those feel good endorphins and increases your energy.

Focus on your strengths. Using your strengths makes you feel strong, says author Marcus Buckingham, and that’s a lot more rewarding than the frustration that comes from trying to work on your weaknesses. Notice moments when you feel strong or in your zone (typically it’s when you lose track of time) and find ways to have more of those moments. It’s all about identifying the moments that renew your energy and bring you joy and going after those moments, Buckingham says.

Choose one of these strategies today and reintroduce yourself to the happier you.

Sandra Bienkowski, owner of The Media Concierge, LLC, is a national writer of wellness and personal development content and a social media expert.

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