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At last! All the secrets of HAPPINESS explained!

2. Love

Having a sense of compassion for the people in your life and knowing that you’re cared for in return is one of the biggest predictors of happiness, says Baker. Whether it’s the thrill of romantic love or nurturing parental love, feelings of companionship provide a comforting sense of belonging that enhances overall life satisfaction. One of the most well-documented ways to increase the love in your life: share quality time with others.

“Feeling isolated makes it easy to succumb to negative feelings like self-doubt and insecurity,” explains David Niven, Ph.D., author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People. “But spending time with loved ones strengthens the human connections that silence those self-defeating thoughts and improve mood.”

So keep planning movie nights with girlfriends, and enlist the company of others when you’d normally be alone. For instance, instead of throwing dinner together solo, ask your guy to help out. And to experience the mood-buoying effects of loving bonds even when you’re alone, carry photos of loved ones in your wallet and peek at their smiling faces for an anytime pick-me-up.

3. Courage

Being courageous means acting in accordance with your personal values, an empowering practice that enhances your sense of self. “If you behave contrary to what you believe, you go to war with yourself,” warns Baker. But stand up for what’s important to you, and the pride you feel will increase personal satisfaction.

For the majority of women, this means curing the “disease to please” and speaking up even when you risk causing a stir, such as saying no to a neighbor who’s always asking for a favor. When your life is in line with your sense of right and wrong, you avoid falling victim to happiness-sapping self-doubt.

4. Sense of choice

Research has found that people who describe themselves as “autonomous” and “self-governing” are up to three times more likely to be satisfied with their lives. These individuals know they have the power to opt out when a situation no longer suits them, Niven explains, so when things get bad, they make the active choice to change matters.

An easy (and enjoyable!) way to practice your power of choice is to indulge in your favorite pastimes whenever possible. Remember, you decide what goes on your to-do list, so opt to add that occasional afternoon of watching bad TV in your pj’s. And if feelings of guilt threaten to ruin the moment, remind yourself that checking off this to-do will enable you to approach the rest of your chores with a more positive and invigorated attitude.

5. Proactivity

The happiest people are always on the hunt for new experiences thanks to a natural zest for life. To fire up your inner passion, Baker recommends setting a goal of making one mistake every single day. This encourages you to try new experiences you might otherwise have avoided out of fear of failure (like testing out the freaky-looking weight contraption at the gym!). Plus, exercising your curiosity in this manner is proven to promote happiness: Neurology researchers have found that diving into a fresh experience triggers the production of dopamine, one of the body’s “feel-good” chemicals.

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