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by Abigail Van Buren

Senior Project Investigates What Makes People Happy

DEAR ABBY: I am a senior in high school. As part of the English program, each senior must assemble a senior project. For mine, I decided to research happiness. I have researched what makes Americans happy and the brain process that takes place when people feel joy.

As someone who reads questions all day about people's problems, I would like to know what makes you happy. Do you have any hobbies or favorite pastimes? Do you have a favorite place to go to cheer you up? What do you think about in order to cheer yourself up?

Thank you for your time and consideration. I can't wait to hear back from you. -- HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR IN MONTANA

DEAR SENIOR: Although I read about problems every day, they don't drag me down. They make me want to take action. What makes me happy is knowing I can make a positive difference in the lives of the individuals who write to me. While I enjoy an occasional concert, play or film -- and getting together with friends -- much of my happiness is derived from my work.

When I need a lift, I think about the blessings I have -- a loving husband, that we're both healthy, that we have friends to laugh with, that I have the ability to exercise, enjoy my favorite flower and the warmth of walking in the sunshine. And I remember to be grateful for all of them.

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