True Joy

Valorie Burton encourages you to discover what lifts your spirit so you can create happiness every day.

Valorie Burton encourages you to discover what lifts your spirit so you can create happiness every day. Find your own motivations for free at happywomantest.com, which lists 13 triggers Burton explores in her book Happy Women Live Better. Here she outlines a few of the big ones:

Anticipation: Every day I make sure I have something to look forward to. Whether having dinner with a friend or curling up with a good novel, we need to be intentional about creating activities we enjoy. This one habit can instantly boost your happiness.

Service: Do at least one thing daily to brighten someone else's day. This requires you to take the focus off yourself and put the spotlight on another. Whether you volunteer for a nonprofit or stop by to visit that friend who's going through a tough time, help somebody.

Financial savvy: It won't happen overnight, but aim to live on 75 percent (or less) of your income. People who live below their means are happier. And buy experiences instead of things—a vacation, a class to learn something new; it will make you happier than another pair of shoes.

Gratitude: At the end of the day, ask, "What were the three best things about today?" Write them down. Studies show that doing so for just three weeks will improve your mood and strengthen your immune system.

Play: Guys are great at playing basketball, golf and video games. We women need to give ourselves permission to play and be silly. Go outside for a game of catch with the kids or have friends over for a night of charades. Play increases creativity and reduces stress.

Relaxation: This trigger tends to be least used by women who have taken my happiness test. Let go of guilt, stop worrying, and give yourself permission to take a catnap, a break, a vacation! Doing nothing rejuvenates the soul.

Movement: Exercise is a happiness trigger. Just 20 minutes of cardio per day can lift your mood for up to 24 hours, according to research. Make it fun. Take a class, go for a walk with your honey, or turn on your favorite music and dance in the living room.

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