Think fast, speak up and don’t dwell on negative thoughts
By Jenny Bailly, Allure
updated 7:47 a.m. CT, Fri., Feb. 15, 2008

The weather, your workload, the size of your feet — there are plenty of things that are beyond your control. Much of the research coming out of the mushrooming  “science of happiness” has found, however, that your mood is not necessarily one of them.

“We have a lot of control over our moods,” says William Fleeson, associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, who has shown in studies that subjects can actually change the expression of basic personality traits on demand and lift their spirits in a matter of minutes. “We’re not slaves to our genes, and we don’t have to wait for someone else to do something good to make us feel better.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, theorizes that 50 percent of our happiness is determined by genetics and only 10 percent by major life circumstances. That means an impressive 40 percent is generated by our daily thoughts and actions. With numbers like that, it’s certainly worth considering the specific behaviors that could lead you down the path to bliss.

Put your mind to it
The idea that we can affect our moods by changing the way we think isn’t a new one (2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We are disturbed not by events, but by the views that we take of them”). But today, many psychologists are focusing their work on just how to bring about that shift in perspective — cognitive therapy. “It’s the most researched psychotherapy intervention today, and in many studies it’s been found to be as effective as antidepressants,” says Alice Domar, a psychologist and director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Research in Waltham, Massachusetts.

  • Be curious.
  • Think fast.
  • Give thanks.
  • Change your tape.
  • Don’t dwell.

Read more at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23052812/