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Wellness

4 Easy Ways To Be Happier In 2015

With the start of the new year, many of us reflect on aspects of our lives we want to change. Chances are, we probably list more things we hope to fix than things we'd like to maintain. Sure, there's always room for improvement, but if that's all we focus on, soon our own self-criticism will outweigh our self-pride.

As the editor of HuffPost's GPS for the Soul section, it's my job to think about how to lead a life of happiness and well-being -- and a major part of that is embracing who we are. There's science to back this up: Research shows that self-acceptance is crucial to a happier life, but it's a habit we rarely practice.

I'm certainly not perfect, but there are some characteristics I wouldn't change about myself. Instead of ruminating over the bad, this year, let's make a vow to celebrate the good.

Take a look at some of the positive habits I try to practice on a daily basis below. We invite you to join us on this journey and share your own great attributes and healthy routines. Make 2015 the year you accept yourself and focus on your strengths.

To quote Bruno Mars (and to practice accepting my corny side), "You're amazing, just the way you are."

Extend Good Manners
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I grew up on the rules of Emily Post in a family where niceties -- like holding the door open for someone -- were more expected than a pleasant surprise. Good manners have multiple, positive benefits. I try to practice them on a regular basis -- even if it's just saying "please" and "thank you."
Speak Words Of Kindness
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I strive to tell others when they've made a difference in my life on a daily basis. If I'm being completely honest, accepting myself also means knowing I wouldn't be who I am without the amazing people around me. A genuine compliment can go a long way. Did someone inspire you today? Were they a great friend during a time you needed it most? Tell them. They'll appreciate it more than you know.
Practice Forgiveness
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I try to make forgiveness a habit, mostly because the alternative of holding onto a grudge can be exhausting. Everyone makes mistakes. Research shows holding onto anger can harm your well-being; it's much healthier to let it go. Practicing forgiveness can lead to less stress and anxiety, boost your heart health and help your self-esteem, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Express Gratitude
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The health perks of gratitude are hard to ignore. Thankfulness can make you more optimistic, help you feel less lonely and even lower your blood pressure. I try to make expressing gratitude a daily exercise, whether it's reflecting on the positives of my day as I go to sleep or writing them down in a journal. Think of it as a workout for your brain.

Do you have your own positive traits you're hoping to continue in 2015? Perhaps you end each day writing in a gratitude journal, you always complete your to-do lists or maybe you make it a point to visit your sick grandparent once a week. Send us your tips to gps@huffingtonpost.com or share them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MyBestHabit. We may turn them into a GPS Guide for GPS for the Soul!

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

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