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7 Simple Ways to Feel Happier in 2014 ...

If you dealt with a lot of stress and anxiety last year, you may look for ways to feel happier in 2014. Even if you try to maintain a positive outlook, many things can steal your happiness. You may face economic problems, health problems or family problems. Despite the things that go on in your life, there are ways to feel happier. Here are seven simple ways to put a smile on your face.

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1. Surround Yourself with Positive People

If you're looking for ways to feel happier, surround yourself with people who are happy. Misery loves company. And if your friends and family are unhappy, they may drag you down with them. These people may complain about everything, and if you're not careful, their negative attitude will rub off on you.

2. Express Gratitude

It's easy to be unhappy when you're constantly focusing on the things that you do not have. There is however, a connection between gratitude and happiness. People who express gratitude are generally happy because they force their minds to focus on the good things in life. If you start feeling sad or unhappy, run down a list of the things you’re thankful for, such as family, health, and so forth.

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3. Volunteer

Keeping your mind occupied is another way to avoid sadness and anxiety. It's a fact, the mind can only focus on one thing at a time. If you are active and help other people, there is no time to focus on yourself. Besides, there is more happiness in giving than receiving. Get off the couch and volunteer with your local homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, a hospital, the library or any other organization that needs assistance.

4. Exercise

Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you're unhappy, but this is a simple and free way to boost your mood. Regular activity releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. The more you work out, the better you will feel - it’s like a natural anti-depressant.

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5. Take the Initiative to Better Yourself

If you feel unhappy because you are dissatisfied with your employment or perhaps you have money problems, take steps to better your situation. The truth is, things will not change unless you act. You have a choice – either sit back and be unhappy, or do something to bring a smile back to your face. For example, if you're constantly stressing about finances, look for ways to earn additional money. Check the job ads, find part-time work or start a side business.

6. Smile

This may seem like an odd tip, but smiling can actually elevate your mood. Regardless of how you feel, resolve to always keep a smile on your face. Not only will you feel better, you might brighten another person’s day. Smiling is contagious.

7. Forgive

There is no benefit in holding a grudge. These negative feelings can consume your mind, creating anger, hostility, anxiety and unhappiness. Even if you are justifiably angry with another person, learning how to forgive can heal your heart. Letting go of hurt feelings will lift a burden from your shoulder, reduce stress and bring back your happiness.

The secret to happiness lies within you. Despite the things you deal with, you ultimately have control over whether you feel happy or sad. Don’t sweat the small stuff, focus on the good and be proactive.

How do you lift your spirits?

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