When it comes to setting our New Year’s resolution, we tend to place much pressure on ourselves, don’t we?  How about this year you join GozAround in making happiness the key focus of your New Year’s resolution!

Five Ways to Build a Positive Mindset – A 2010 study conducted by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues at the University of California found that there were five key elements to a positive mindset: being grateful, being hopeful, using your strengths, counting your blessings, and committing acts of kindness.

1.  Express Gratitude – It can be as simple as writing letters of gratitude to people who have helped you out! A 2005 study by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman and his colleagues found that people who wrote letters of gratitude felt an increase in happiness that lasted up to a few months!  Watch this video to see the instant happiness boost caused by a genuine thank you letter!  Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to practice gratitude everyday?

2.  Be More Hopeful – Seligman says that what differentiates optimists from their less-hopeful counterparts is confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles.  Simply reminding yourself that rough events are manageable and limited in time or scope can help improve your resilience and brighten your mood. Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to be more optimistic?

3.  Use Your Strengths and Virtues – We all have a unique set of abilities and virtues that make us an expert at something! Think of a time that you were engaged in an activity and you felt on top of the world! What strengths allowed you to perform that well? Now that you have something in mind, think of a way you could use those strengths for the greater good.  You could find a volunteering activity that uses your unique capabilities!  According to studies by Seligman, the happiest people use their strengths and virtues altruistically.  Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to start volunteering?  For some wonderful opportunities, check out GozAround.com.

4.  Count Your Blessings – As a New Year’s resolution why not write down one thing a day that you are grateful for? Even writing down three things a week you are grateful for could cause  a significant boost in happiness! In a 2005 study by Seligman and colleagues, participants wrote down three things they would grateful for, for a one week period.  And the results? A decrease in depression and an increase in happiness that lasted a whole 6 months!

5.  Commit Acts of Kindness – As discussed in our blog on Why Volunteering is the Best Medicine for Stress, reaching out to others causes the hormone oxytocin to be released in your brain, ultimately reducing your stress and increasing your feeling of belonging.  When you reach out to others, your mood is instantly boosted! As an example, check out this video of an inspiring lad, Luke Cameron, who accomplished one good deed a day for a whole 365 days! What a terrific New Year’s resolution it would be to do 365 good deeds over the next year!

As it might have occurred to you in reading the list, we are happiest when reaching out to others! Science proves it. So, in all your endeavours over the next year, it is well-worth your while to work in good deeds!  After all, the key to happiness is a giving and grateful heart. Make it your New Year’s resolution to express the five key traits that contribute to a positive mindset.  In doing so you will discover a more optimistic and worry-free you!