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Family Files

Ten suggestions for improved positivity and well-being

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Our lives are bombarded with negativity, stress and countless threats to our emotional well-being. New research in neuroscience and positive psychology show that when we experience happiness and positivity, it turns on all the learning centers in the brain and fuels positive outcomes in all aspects of our lives. Also, research shows that more happiness and positivity cause us to be three times more creative, 23% less fatigued and 31% more productive in life.

Based on research that was reviewed and presented by Dr. David Schramm of Utah State University, here are ten ways to become happier and more positive, and I think you’ll be surprised at how easy they are to do:

  • Give thanks or practice gratitude
  • Smile more – it’s contagious
  • Get moving – practice regular exercise or physical activity
  • Use your character strengths
  • Start your day off right with something positive each morning
  • Find your flow – that moment when you are engaged in something so enjoyable to you that nothing else seems to matter
  • Pay attention – be mindful
  • Practice kindness
  • Drop grudges and forgive
  • Cherish your friends

Consider implementing one or more of these into practices in your lives to improve your personal well-being and happiness.

Illinois Extension family life educators have a program on this topic and it can be requested by contacting your local Extension office. Or to watch a recording of the webinar “Happy Hacks for More Positivity”, you can go online to

Source:  Dr. David Schramm, Family Life Specialist, Utah State University

Author: Cheri Burcham is responsible for family life programming in the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, Shelby and other parts of east central Illinois as needed. Cheri’s emphasis is on healthy lifestyles throughout the life span which include family relationships, communication, caregiving, stress management and human development including early childhood and healthy aging. Her passion is to help people to be their best selves and to promote a healthier, independent older population. When Cheri is not engaged in Extension work, she can be found raising Monarch butterflies and spreading the word about their amazing life cycles and migration to anyone who will listen!