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The 10 Habits of Happy People

It pays to have a sunny disposition. Optimistic people have been shown to have healthier hearts, better stress-management tendencies, and lower risk for stroke compared to their glass-half-empty-seeing counterparts.

Looking on the bright side is easier said than done, of course. Fortunately, there are some ways to get your positive gears turning. In the slideshow below, David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism, shares 10 tips for living more optimistically. Check them out, then tell us: What philosophies will you adopt to see more silver linings?

Be Grateful

"It all starts with counting our blessings. If you are not grateful for the good things in your life, you will never be satisfied. Take inventory of the good around you. But don't neglect what's not great, either: You also need to be grateful for the hardships, the obstacles, the failures. Why? Because these are the points of wisdom in your life. They give you strength, they teach you how to persevere, and they form your resilience. Being thankful for every step makes life’s hardships surmountable. All of this is the foundation of optimism; being psyched about the good and the bad, and knowing that they all point to a bright future."

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Share Your Stories

"I believe we all have the capacity to live optimistically just by sharing our life’s adventures, our successes and even our failures. Just knowing others have been in the same boat and have persevered is comforting. It spreads a message of hope, and hope is the main ingredient in optimism. When we share our stories we are giving others the tools they need to build, evolve, and persevere. In essence, mankind is always 'paying it forward.'”

Forgive

This is easier said than done, but you need to forgive those that have affected your ability to find the silver linings. I believe that the easiest way to forgive and move on is to reflect on the fact that the past is the past. Just look at it this way: The person that you are having a hard time forgiving probably wishes that he or she could erase the past as well. In summary, make peace with your past so that it won't spoil the present. Once you accomplish this, you will close those chapters and live a more positive and happy life."

Become a Better Listener

"When you listen, you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts. You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence is proof that you are secure and positive with yourself thus radiating positive energy."

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Turn Envy and Jealousy Into Energy

"When we envy others we are only hurting ourselves. The universe does not owe you because someone else is better off than you. Channel that energy into building your personal and professional brand. Consider other people’s success the catalyst to help you achieve."

Smile More, Frown Less

"When we smile we are creating a happy, stimulating environment around us that draws others in. Frowning, on the other hand, shuts people out and has the opposite effect. Happiness, even in brief doses, releases serotonin (the happy hormone). It makes the toughest days surmountable."

Exercise and Follow a Healthy Diet

"This may be common advice, but we all need some form of exercise and sunlight every day—even if it’s only for 15 minutes. If you can’t get natural sunlight, ask your doctor about vitamin D supplements or light therapy. If you can’t get exercise during your busy schedule, use the staircase instead of the elevator or park in the furthest parking spot away. Whatever it takes, keep yourself in healthy motion as often as you can. Consider balanced meals and don’t push away those fruits and vegetables. If you feel hunger throughout the day, consider almonds and walnuts (if you are not allergic). If you are predisposed to allergies, consider frequent smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones. The energy we get from exercise, a healthy diet, and light exposure gives us focus, clarity, and a naturally positive demeanor."

Practice Positive-Forward Thinking

Positive-forward thinking is the ability to find the silver lining in every cloud, apply it to today or yesterday and be hopeful that tomorrow will be better. Imagine surgery: You think the worse and can’t wait for it to be over. Take all that and start visualizing what the point of the surgery is and what the results of the procedure will deliver. The goal is good—it’s only today that may seem rough. Or picture a student studying for a grueling exam. It may seem like the end of the world trying to prepare and memorize all this information. But take that energy and picture what your degree can do for your future. Like anything else, working hard will always deliver results. Life is not a lottery. It’s what you make of it."

Stop Blaming Others for Your Problems

"It is so easy to blame others for our position in life. People blame the economy, politicians, bosses, and all types of third parties for their problems. Once you truly accept that you control who you are, you will find that optimism and success come naturally. Remember, opportunity is usually found in the valleys, not at the peaks."

Remember the Past Isn't a Blueprint to the Future

"Just because you've experienced adversity in your life does not mean that what starts badly will end badly. Do not make bad experiences a self-fulfilling prophecy of what lies ahead. On the contrary, know that those milestones are behind you and the road to the future is clear."

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