Top 10 quotes to keep you happy

Happy words to live by

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There has been a recent surge of research on happiness resulting in countless books, tips and recommendations on how to attain happiness. While research is invaluable, we wanted to know what makes real people, living normal lives, happier. We found that for many, having a quote or short mantra that changed their perspective or reminded them of something constructive did the trick. We asked real people what quotes they rely on to keep their focus on the positive. Here are the top 10 quotes that make them — and can make you — happy.

1. On control

Deb Spencer shared her personal favorite:

"Relax, nothing is under control" — Adi Da Samraj

She says, “While there are so many great quotes, being a control-freak business owner, this helps me keep perspective when things feel like they are getting out of hand. Control is an illusion we cling to. Sometimes it's best to let things happen as they will. It takes some of the stress and frustration out of things."

2. On having a bad day

Amy Chase Blue, mother of five, shares her chosen happiness quote: "A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear." She says, "Any time I read the word smile, it makes me smile. This quote reminds me that sometimes we just need to fake it until we make it. Put a smile on your face and soon you will find that you are smiling for a reason!"

Happiness explorer and author Gretchen Rubin shares on her Happiness Blog about this phenomenon: “Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. More than a century ago, philosopher and psychologist William James described this phenomenon: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself.

3. On altruism

Kalyn Long, a media relations specialist, says her happiness quote "is perfect and describes how every work environment and personal environment should be, especially with the holidays coming up!"

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again." — Og Mandino

5. On self-image

Andrew Lavin, president of a communications company, takes a happiness tip from children's author Dr. Seuss:

"Those that mind don't matter,

Those that matter don't mind."

According to a USA TODAY article on happiness, “The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have.”

6. On courage

Business owner Paul Michael Bedell's happiness mantra is: "If you can do something, or believe you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic within it!" He says, "I like this quote, and having recently launched a new business, it resonates and make me smile!"

Psychologist Daniel Gilbert agrees with Mr. Bedell and said, "If you knew exactly what the future held, you still wouldn't know how much you would like it when you got there," Gilbert says. In pursuing happiness, he suggests, "We should have more trust in our own resilience and less confidence in our predictions about how we'll feel. We should be a bit more humble and a bit more brave."

7. On success

Photographer and author Gene Geter shared that "this quote makes me happy and inspired."

"You are, at this moment, standing, right in the middle of your own acres of diamonds." — Russell Conwell

Gene says, "I remind myself of this quote whenever I am down to be uplifted again. It tells me you can live a prosperous life whenever you choose to, at any second."

8. On being authentic

Casey's quote highlights how important it is to "just be yourself and live and enjoy!"

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." — Friedrich Nietzsche

9. On perspective

Rosalie Maggio says, "This quote keeps me centered, and reminds me of what's important."

"Each moment in time we have it all, even when we think we don't." — Melody Beattie

In an interview with USA TODAY, University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener says, "Materialism is toxic for happiness. Even rich materialists aren't as happy as those who care less about getting and spending."

10. On hope

Carlee Cameron sent this quote:

"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation." — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Carlee insightfully says, "This quote makes me happy because it gives me hope. Hope that happiness is something to work for, and therefore more rewarding in the end. I have this quote as my desktop background to remind myself of these truths every day!"

Happiness tip: Practicing gratitude has proven to increase feelings of happiness by 25 percent, so grab a journal and start today!

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