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The secrets of happy women

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

What real women do to live happier, more fulfilling lives

Have a friend who seems totally put together and cheerful all the time? That woman can be you. Find out what six real moms do to stay happy, healthy and satisfied.
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Real moms share:

how to live a truly happy life

Have a friend who seems totally put together and cheerful all the time? That woman can be you. Find out what six real moms do to stay happy, healthy and satisfied.

We all have different ways of getting happy. When life gets busy and stressful, don’t lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Learn how six happy women keep in touch with the brighter side of life.

Get moving

Approach exercise as a way to lift your spirits instead of a way to lose weight. When you think of it as a mood booster and not a chore, you may be more likely to stick to a routine. Many women love that running provides a rush of endorphins and helps them sleep at night. Natalie, a copywriter, swears by the way running makes her feel happy. “Particularly the no-pressure runs where I'm just enjoying my tunes, a loose mileage goal, permission to walk as often as I want and daydream about being a super spy who is training to defeat robots,” she says.

Enjoy some guilt-free TV

With all the pressures of work and family, every now and then, you need some time just to relax and veg out. At the end of a long day, don’t be afraid to indulge in some seriously silly television. You’ve earned the distraction. Whether you love documentaries or reality TV, don’t judge yourself. Curl up on the couch and zone out. Tracy, a graphic designer, loves her romantic comedies. “Indulge in a guilty pleasure,” she says. “For me, it's schmoopy rom-coms, while drinking a beer and eating an entire bowl of popcorn.”

Find the best mind-body workouts for the New Year >>

Focus on yourself

As a mother, you spend a lot of time making others happy. You can’t be happy if you don’t spend some of that time and energy on yourself. Caroline, a social media analyst, suggests focusing on things that make you — and only you — happy. “Not making someone else happy, not your kids, no one else,” she says. “I'm a lot happier knowing now what I like to do in my free time and what makes me a whole individual. Now that I have that down, I am happier to give to those around me.”

Enter a fantasy world

It’s easier than you think to escape to a fantasy world. Just pick up a book. The subjects may have changed since you were 7, but the concept remains the same. Books are a great way to get away. Tara, a blogger, reads regularly to stay happy. “I read for at least an hour before bed every night, and listen to audio books when I run or am in the car alone or am shopping alone,” she says. “Escaping into a fictional world helps me to unwind and relax and forget my troubles for a bit.”

Learn how to turn your bathroom into a home spa >>

Connect with family

Happiness may be closer than you think. Leaning on family, even the memory of loved ones who have passed, can be a source of strength and happiness. Chrissy, a blogger, holds the memory of her grandmother close. “I'm not sure why this started, but sometime around high school I started to think about decisions in the sense of ‘what would my grandma think about this.’ Perhaps she was the little angel on my shoulder,” Chrissy says. “Or perhaps I just really respected her and the person that she was and hoped I could be like her one day. But that thought process has stayed a constant in my life.”

Listen to your jams

Rachel, who works in the publishing industry in New York City, jams out to her favorite music to feel happy. “Hip hop and R&B from the early ’90s always lightens my mood,” she says. “Probably because it presents a reality that is fairly different from mine, yet light-hearted.” If you don’t listen to music often, try to make it a habit while you’re driving or while you’re working. Use streaming web radio to tune in to music that uplifts you, whether it’s inspirational ballads or arena rock.

More tips for moms

5 Ways to stress less about housework
6 Things to do before bed every night
How to be a happier mom

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