Solve Problems
Keep Happy People Around

Studies have shown that happiness is contagious. When someone's friends or neighbors experience happiness or good fortune, those positive feelings are often imparted to the people around them. Happy people also cluster together in social groups.

Gretchen Rubin, who runs happiness-project.com and is writing a book about happiness, lists as one of her "twelve commandments" the mantra "Identify the problem." It may seem like a basic idea, but often our frustrations can be traced to problems we haven't fully grappled with. Identifying a problem can often lead to a clear solution, perhaps one so mind-numbingly obvious that you'll wonder why you hadn't addressed the situation earlier.

Understanding a problem also allows people to keep things in perspective, to understand whether something is really worth getting upset about. It prevents giving in to self-pity and instead represents a more proactive approach that allows for finding a solution and moving on to other concerns. And if you're feeling overwhelmed with concerns, singling out a problem and addressing it can lessen stress and make once daunting challenges seem surmountable.