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Boost Your Mood: Find Bliss

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Step 3: Inventory Your Strengths

Happy people define themselves in many ways, whether it's as being quick-witted, curious, a strong leader, or generous. These qualities make up who they are at their best. In his book, Authentic Happiness, psychologist Martin Seligman, PhD, refers to these personality traits as signature strengths. The more of them you can identify within yourself, the better. "It's like having a diversified psychological portfolio," says Baker. If there's a downturn in one part of your life, your other strengths can help you through the tough times.

To do this exercise, write down the three qualities that make you proudest of yourself, such as your sense of humor, caring, creativity, or spirituality. (Need help? Take the quiz at to determine all the ways in which you shine.) Then decide how you can put each of these strengths into practice as soon as possible. For instance, if you have a good sense of humor, aim to inject some levity into at least one situation this week. If you're a good listener or advice giver, reach out to a friend in crisis. Using your strengths in this way will give you a sense of accomplishment that you can build on -- and inject contentment and peace into your life every day.

Originally published in FITNESS Magazine, September 2006.


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