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Happy on Campus: You Can Be Happier by Doing These 5 Free Happiness Tips Today

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In a recent interview with Inc.com Shawn Achor shared that the secret to being happy is not being rich or smart but being smarter with our happiness and we can do that by making small positive changes.

Shawn Achor is a best-selling author, speaker, happiness researcher and an advocate of positive psychology.

Positive psychology may sound up-and-coming for some and it's not a surprise. Positive psy came to the spotlight barely 20 years ago when one of its proponents, Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA). Though there have been applications and research on the topic, Dr. Seligman is often credited as the father of positive psychology.

There are a number of luminaries in this field. Some notable personalities include Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, James Pawelski, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Christopher Peterson and Tal Ben Shahar, who prior to going back to his native Israel, taught Positive Psychology 1504, the most popular course in Harvard.

In the spring of 2006, a record 1,400 students enrolled in Positive Psy 1504. The course is focused on the psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life. Quite surprising that students would need to learn more about fulfillment when there are tons of things to do in campus, school work aside.

Parties, games, rallies, movies and catching up with the course work when you've had too much fun, internships, part time jobs and other career plans. Is there a reason for college students to look for more ways to have a flourishing life? Apparently, 1,400 thought there is.

In his popular TED Talk, Shawn revealed that we are not shaped by our reality but we are shaped by the way we perceive our reality. It the way our brains see the world that shapes our reality. Changing the lense through which we perceive reality can also change the levels of our happiness and everything else in our world.

So what little changes can we do everyday to adjust our perceptions and be happier? Here 5 of them and they are free:

1. Be grateful

The clicle "attitude of gratitude" exists for a reason. Gratitude makes us feel better because it allows us to feel positive emotions' that helps us to better deal with adversity and build stronger relationships.

2. Write to be happy

There is vast research on the benefits of writing and being happy. This is because writing about oneself and other personal experiences can improve one's mood and expressive writing has also been associated with different positive outcomes.

3. Work out your happiness

If you haven't seen Legally Blonde, then you probably haven't heard, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy." Elle Woods was right and science attests to that.

4. Find some quiet time and meditate

Meditation allows us a deeper awareness of ourselves and our environment. It makes us mindful and gives us clarity that helps give a more positive feeling and outlook.

5. Rack up some RAKs (random acts of kindness)

While some is dismissing this last one as a myth, research shows it works.

Wrapping up, with a final tip: create rituals and build habits. In his book Happier, Dr. Tal Ben Shahar shared that in order for us to be happier, we should build a routine around being happy.

This makes perfect sense because once rituals and habits are formed, it will not require additional effort or discipline. Think of little things like brushing your teeth or taking a shower, these are routines deeply rooted in our system that doing so is almost automatic.

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." The same can apply to happiness.

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