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Choose Your Attitude

What influences your happiness more, life circumstances or personal choices? Does it surprise you that happiness researchers mostly agree that life circumstances influence your happiness by only 10 percent in the long term? Obviously, life events have a short-term effect. A loss of job or a divorce can be devastating, and winning the lottery or falling in love can be wonderful, at least initially. However, the key to being happy in the long term is not circumstances; it's disposition and attitude.

Living through a recession is very challenging, and the challenge starts with identifying the best attitude that will help you the most. Thinking positively isn't the answer to everything, but it will help you do everything better than thinking negatively. Your attitude makes a difference to how happy you are and how well you cope with life. Try this: Set an intention to enjoy your day 10 percent more than yesterday. Back up your intention with three specific actions like calling a friend, smiling more and doing something you love. Notice what effect this has on your day.

Treasure Your Relationships

New research commissioned by The Body Shop has found that nearly a quarter of people interviewed (24 percent) say recent financial events have helped them to focus on what is really important in life. And what is most important is spending more quality time with family and friends. Indeed, nearly one in five men (18 percent) claim the recession and spending more time at home has improved their relationships.

Investing time, energy and attention in your most important relationships will increase your happiness. Friendships are a source of great joy, laughter and entertainment. They also help you to better handle life challenges like stress, bereavement, job loss and illness. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal confirms that having "rich and satisfying social relationships" is the key difference between people who are "quite happy" and "very happy."

Count Your Blessings

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