It's impossible to go an entire year without navigating through some challenges -- but despite any setbacks, many are approaching 2014 with an optimistic outlook. Almost 50 percent of Americans believe their fortunes will improve in the new year. Is 2014 going to be the year of positivity?
According to some experts, happiness is a choice that we can make -- not something that is entirely influenced by external circumstances. By simply deciding to be happy, we can adopt and live out a more positive life. So instead of making resolutions to accomplish specific things (be honest: is that gym membership going to be the only thing that will make you happy next year?), setting a goal to make 2014 your most positive year yet is more attainable than you think.
Below find eight ways to practice more positivity in 2014. Then tell us in the comments, what are some positive habits you're planning to adopt in the new year?
1. Go outside.
Research proves that going outside helps reduce stress, increases your levels of serotonin and elevates your mood.
2. Log some time with your nephews (or nieces, siblings or neighbor's kids).
Little kids can have the best outlooks on life.
4. Play with your pet.
Pet ownership has been proven to boost happiness and banish stress. Thanks, Fido!
5. Unplug every once in a while.
Facebook, texting, Twitter, Snap Chat... we're bombarded with information daily -- and not all of it is good. Studies have shown that spending time on social media can actually make us feel lonely and bad about ourselves. Turn off that computer and let yourself be happy.
6. Say thank you.
Gratitude can help you focus on the positive aspects in your life. Send a thank you note to someone you care about, just because. You'll feel happier for it.
7. Read more books.
Aside from their unconventional health benefits, good books can put your mind in another place -- perhaps, even, a positive place.
8. Dance (or sing) it out.
Ever notice how when you're grooving to your favorite tune or screaming lyrics as you drive down the road, your mood elevates? Turns out that's no coincidence. Studies have shown that singing and dancing can be an instant, positive mood booster.