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6 Ways to Feel Happier, Be Healthier

How a positive attitude really can make a difference

Happy woman sitting next to sad version of herself. A positive attitude is healthy.

A positive attitude is good for your health. — Daly and Newton /Getty Images

En español | A good mood not only influences how you feel today, it can have a powerful impact on your health for years to come.

Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter.

Scientists urge us to be as attentive to our moods and attitudes as we are to our physical health. Two recent studies underscore the importance of that advice.

"Happiness is no magic bullet, but the evidence is clear and compelling that it changes your odds of getting disease or dying young."

A paper in Current Directions in Psychological Science notes that a positive attitude can protect against poor health later in life and may be a powerful antidote to stress, pain and illness.

Another study, published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, found that happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

"Happiness is no magic bullet," says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener, the lead author, "but the evidence is clear and compelling that it changes your odds of getting disease or dying young."

Eating well, exercising, not smoking and getting enough sleep help keep you healthy, but how do you develop a positive attitude?

Here are six mood boosters to make the world look rosier. Add them to your life, and odds are you'll feel both happier and healthier. If you rarely walk on the sunny side of the street, now's the time to cross over.

Next: Happiness Tip No. 1 — Get a pet. >>

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