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Want success? Pursue your happiness

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Even after tremendous highs and lows, most people drift back to their natural set point for happiness. And as with your weight or the temperature in a room, you can reprogram your level of happiness to a new set point. All it takes is practice.

It pays off, too. Besides being happier, you’ll become more successful. Happy people receive better opportunities and enjoy better health. They even make more money. Over a lifetime, happy people make $750,000 more than dour people.

Here are some research-based tips on how to raise your resting happy rate:

1. Accentuate the positive. You’ve heard this before because it’s what leaders do. For every 10 compliments and one criticism received, most people remember only the criticism. Train yourself to consciously register good things: a ray of sunshine, a kind word, a job well done. When you encounter something good, take 20 seconds to soak it up.

2. Wish people well.
Next time you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for an elevator, silently beam out good vibrations. Studies show that simply wishing others well switches on a “pump” in your heart that releases a current of happiness.

3. Quit worrying. About 80% of our worries never come to pass. Letting go of anxiety and negative thoughts can even take a physical expression. One anthropologist recommends giving away 27 unnecessary items a day for nine days. This exercise will literally lighten your load.

4. Get a move on.
A little exercise will release happy neurochemicals—endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine—that lower pain and boost your defenses. Even a big smile (you can fake it at first) does the trick. Why? Simple. People smile back and the feel-good chemicals kick in.

5. Form a Coalition of the Happy.
Hanging out with happy people exposes you to “emotional contagion,” a scientifically proven way to jump-start joy.

— Adapted from “How to Stay Up When the Economy is Down: 5 Tips to Get You Started,” Marci Shimoff, www.happyfornoreason.com.

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