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Make Happiness a Choice!

Toni Ann DiSantis

Recent studies suggest that we have a happiness "set-point" that controls overall well-being to a large extent.  We revolve around this set-point: when something good happens we are happier than our normal set-point and less happy when we face difficulties.  What's really interesting is that this set-point can be reset.

Although our general mood levels and well-being are partially determined by factors like genetics and upbringing, roughly 40% of our happiness is within our control, according to some experts.  A large body of research in the field of positive psychology has shown that happiness is a choice that anyone can make.


Here are five tips to help improve your mental well-being: 

CONNECT: Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.  Spend time developing these relationships.

BE ACTIVE: You don't have to go to the gym, but get active.  Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activities that you enjoy and make them a part of your life.

KEEP LEARNING: Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence.  So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning a musical instrument or figure out how to fix your bike.

GIVE TO OTHERS: Even the smallest act can count whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word.  Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community center, can improve your mental well being and help you build new social networks.

BE MINDFUL: Be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you.  Some people can call this awareness "mindfulness" and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.