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Battling 'Negative' Childhood Home

Q. I recently read that happy, positive people are more successful than negative ones. Unfortunately I came from a home filled with sad, depressed people. There was nothing wrong with them, but their life was so hard they couldn't find anything to be cheerful about and it infected all the children. I'm still trying to climb out of that and wonder how professionals suggest I do it.

Ans Shawn Achor, a well-known psychologist that taught the "Happiness Course" at Harvard, framed the answers in his new book, "The Happiness Advantage," (Crown Business $25). His ideas include: smile while you work, brighten your environment by changing paint on the walls, add pictures and objects that prime you for positivity, and your mood and brain will react. Also, invest in people. Connect with colleagues, make time for family and reconnect with friendships you've dropped. It immediately gives your day a boost. Achor claims that the adage is backward: success doesn't lead to happiness. Instead, happiness leads to success. Try it.

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