Four Habits of Happy People

• They say thanks. Research at the University of California, Davis, found that those who kept weekly gratitude journals felt better about their lives and were more optimistic about the upcoming week than those who recorded hassles or neutral events.

• They reach out. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, mentor a disadvantaged child or participate in a community project: People who focus on others are happier. Compassionate acts help you feel better about yourself.

• They like to bond. There are few better remedies for unhappiness than an intimate friendship with someone who cares deeply about you. Confiding in others is good for the body as well as for the soul.

• They get spiritual. Studies have shown a link between spirituality and happiness. Cultural historian David Shi, Ph.D., says, “People who have been able to sustain joy usually believe in a higher being, whether through conventional or new-age religion.”