1. Keep a “gratitude journal.’’ Record the small joys of everyday life
2. Make a “gratitude visit. Write a letter expressing your appreciation for what someone else has done to change and shape your life, then read it to that person.
3. Change your behavior. Get enough sleep, exercise; read a book you love; spend time outside; meditate.
4. Smile (even when you aren’t happy). The mere act of smiling triggers physiological responses in your body in positive ways.
5. Perform random acts of kindness. Volunteer; donate to a charity; give a gift to a friend.
6. Find “your match.” Figure out your strengths and find ways to use them (in your job, in your community, in your family).
7. Keep things in perspective. Avoid over-reacting to the many lesser stresses of daily life.
8. Spend money on the right things. Focus on things like experiences (travel, tickets to the big game or a concert) and less on belongings (car, watch, purse).
9. Avoid comparisons. Comparing your own life to those of others (especially as portrayed in holiday letters and on social media) can lead to unwarranted depression and loneliness.
10. Build and maintain close relationships. Our relationships with family members, romantic partners, and friends have a substantial influence on our own happiness.
CATHERINE A. SANDERSON