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This article titled "5 things that will make you happier" from MSNBC News on Twitter caught my eye the other day. I read it and tweeted about it. Scientists have argued that happiness is largely determined by genetics, health, and various factors beyond our control. But a psychologist named Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California, Riverside, says part of our happiness "is within our power to change."

Lyubomirsky spoke at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She and her colleagues have reviewed numerous studies, the results of which were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Here are five things research shows can improve happiness:

1. Be grateful

2. Be optimistic

3. Count your blessings

4. Use your strengths

5. Commit acts of kindness

It makes sense that these five things can make us happier, but it struck me that by focusing on these five things we could also impact the lives of the people we are around every day -- whether it's patients, team members, other doctors...

Any thoughts about this?

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Comment by Vicki Cheeseman on February 26, 2010 at 11:16am
Thanks for the kind words, Dr. Pruitt.
Comment by Darrell Pruitt on February 26, 2010 at 8:00am
Nice job, Vicki.
Comment by Vicki Cheeseman on February 25, 2010 at 12:15pm
Love it!!
Comment by Meg Kaiser on February 25, 2010 at 11:53am
Here's a little something to make us happy on this Thursday, or any day! Enjoy the R.E.M. Shiny Happy People song.
Comment by Meg Kaiser on February 25, 2010 at 11:37am
This department proves that every day, Vicki. We're such a happy bunch. (Yes, I'm sure Kevin is unwell somewhere.)
Comment by Vicki Cheeseman on February 25, 2010 at 11:35am
Thanks for the comments. The best reminder in all of this is that while we will be happier and more content, those around us will be too!
Comment by Duane DaPron on February 25, 2010 at 11:31am

You hit the proverbial nail on the head. All five steps that you mention will certainly lead us to more happiness in our lives. Committing acts of kindness takes the attention off ourselves and directs it toward others instead. Great post. Thanks for reminding us of these five steps.
Comment by Penny Anderson on February 25, 2010 at 11:29am
Great post, Vicki! I think being grateful for what you have is the easiest one to sometimes overlook. We just take so much for granted, and then get upset or down when something doesn't go our way. That also fits very well with "counting your blessings."
Comment by Meg Kaiser on February 25, 2010 at 9:38am
Great list. I especially like Count your blessings. Sometimes it's easy to get so wrapped up in every day events that we forget how blessed we are. So remember to take time each day to be thankful for our loved ones and our friends and the good things that happen to us.
Comment by Vicki Cheeseman on February 25, 2010 at 9:22am
No, I didn't go to that, but it sounds like fun! So you raise horses?

On an even more different coffee makes me happy. But then, we've talked about that before. :)


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