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Gretchen Rubin of New York City takes the pursuit of happiness seriously. A few years ago, Rubin decided that what she wanted from life was to be happy. Although she had much to be happy about, she said she realized she wasn't as happy as she could be and that her life wouldn't change unless "I made it change."
Now, she's writing a memoir about a year she spent testing every tip and theory related to achieving happiness, "The Happiness Project" (www. happiness-project.com ). I asked her to share three of her best lessons:
First, take care of your body. Most importantly, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. Sleep deprivation is a major source of bad moods. Exercise can quickly boost moods, she said.
Second, act the way you want to feel.
"We think that we act because of the way we feel, but in fact, we.often feel because of the way we act," she said. "So to feel cheerful, act cheerful. ... I admit this sounds a bit Pollyanna-ish, but it is uncannily effective."
Third, cultivate relationships.
"Everyone from contemporary scientists to ye olde philosophers agrees that the key to happiness is loving relationships with other people," she said.