[By Lim Soo Chien]

Sure, you can buy happiness in a pill. Yet rather than relying on a drug to boost your moods, you can make changes in your life to help you become more optimistic. But the choice is yours. Here’s how to make your world brighter:

1. Live by the one-day principle:

“The only day you have is the day you wake up,” says Tom Bay, Ph.D., author of Look Within Or Do Without. Yes, you can plan for the future, but live every day as if it were your last. By doing so, you’ll let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and make this one day your best.

2. Pay Attention to your personal needs:

Put yourself at the top, suggests Bay. It sounds selfish to say you’re No. 1, especially for women who take care of husbands, kids and parents, but you are. Take care of yourself first and you’ll have plenty of enthusiasm, energy and optimism to give to others.

3. Feed your mind positive thoughts:

Does the news always bring you down? Then quit watching it. Read a book that makes you feel good. See a movie.

4. Know that you always have a choice:

Is your job a bummer? Get a new one. Not ready to leave? Then celebrate those reasons and remember that you chose to stay.

5. Indulge your passions:

What is it that makes you tick? Golf? Playing the guitar? Painting? Then do it. And don’t feel guilty about doing it.

6. Find positive friends:

As they say, if you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop hanging out with the ducks. “So get around some eagles,” Bay says.

7. Get the negative out of your system:

Kick a desk in your office. Scream at the top of your lungs. If you don’t dump it, it’ll only come back to hurt you later.

8. Chase rainbows:

Listen to your dreams and go after them.

9. Plan for down days:

The sun doesn’t shine every day. So create strategies in advance to help you dump the gloom. Bay carries comedy cassette tapes in his car. If he’s in a bad mood, he pops them in and takes action to get out of his yucky mood.

10. Enjoy the simple things:

There’s a cap to how much happiness fancy cars and big homes will give you. But there’s no limit to the joy you’ll get from playing with your kids, watching hummingbirds flutter at a feeder, or gazing at fluffy clouds.

11. Laugh:

There’s a reason we always feel great after a good laugh. It’s called endorphins, and when you laugh, they rush through your body like a burst of happy energy.

12. Get moving:

Remember those endorphins? You’ll feel them when you exercise, whether you’re walking the dog or raking leaves.


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