Do what you believe in
People are happier when they do the right thing for the good of others – although at the time it might be hard. That might mean missing your favourite TV show so you can volunteer at a soup kitchen, or cutting into your own reading budget so you can contribute books to a school fundraiser. “Following your conscience isn’t always pleasant, so it may not improve a person’s emotional state, but it may improve their evaluation of their life,” Dr Parks says. Miller says tackling such hard stuff improves your ‘grit,’ or perseverance, which boosts confidence. “People with authentic grit do hard things that build their self-respect and enlarge their vision of what they’re made of,” says Miller. In this way, when you make decisions that affirm your own values, you feel more secure. “People become less defensive and more open to others when they affirm their values,” Lyubomirsky says. “You feel better about yourself and more positive in general.”
Seek out good news
There is so much negativity the second you turn on the morning news shows that it can cast a shadow over your whole day. Instead, try to fill your morning with positivity. “In a study I did with Arianna Huffington and researcher Shawn Achor, we found that watching three minutes of positive, solutions-focused news as compared to negative news in the morning can lead to a 27 per cent higher likelihood of reporting your day as a happy one six to eight hours later,” Gielan says. “Start your day with an inspiring story of a person or organisation that overcame a challenge, or one that focuses on solutions to create positive change.”
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