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Want to feel happier? Pick up a book

By / August 17, 2009

What makes you feel good? According to a new survey from the Pepsi Optimism Project, 88 percent of Americans surveyed said that reading books helps them to feel more optimistic. (Other optimism boosters – to a somewhat lesser degree – include attending live music events, theater, and speeches.)

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It's no big surprise that the survey, as reported by mediabistro's GalleyCat blog, indicated that the biggest optimism boosters were connections with family and friends, with 91 percent of Americans citing relationships as key to their happiness. But who would have guessed that 56 percent of those surveyed would say that they feel optimistic after attending poetry readings? (As GalleyCat noted, "We had not realized poetry readings were so popular – although clearly they should be!")

And then another good piece of advice from GalleyCat: as the survey didn't indicate whether fiction or nonfiction reading was more likely to boost good feelings, "You should probably read a little of both, just to be on the safe side."

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