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This Year, Retrain Your Brain! Give Yourself the Happiness Advantage.

Why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen—as they happen? Then on New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and recall the year’s best moments.

This is an idea that has been floating around in one form or another for some time, and I love this idea for a specific reason. When you relive a positive event, your brain experiences the same good emotions as when the event actually occurred. And starting a habit of taking note of good things that happen retrains your brain over time to start noticing the good things when they are happening. While most of us are laser-focused on the negatives, we can refocus and start seeing the positives. And when you are seeing the positives, what more is possible for you? (Answer: A lot!)

As a family activity, encourage every member of the family to contribute at least one note per week. More if you like!

At work, do it companywide or by department, office or work group.

This new awareness will increase your happiness both at home and at work, and it will give you the happiness advantage.

The happiness advantage is what you get when you are happy. So instead of a mindset that tells you, “I’ll be happy when I lose weight, get a new job, get better at golf … ,” science has proven that it is when you are happy that you will lose weight, get a new job, get better at golf …

As an added bonus, when New Year’s comes in 2014, you can celebrate the year’s positives—with specific memories.