Conventional wisdom says that it's a huge effort to change your habits to make yourself healthier and happier. I respectfully disagree. The most effective way to create more happiness is through tiny changes in your daily routine.

Here's the recipe that works for me:

1. Be more courteous.

Words and actions ripple outward like pebbles thrown into a pond. When I'm rude, I create rudeness; when I'm kind, I create kindness. Even a tiny pebble thrown into the kindness pool can make a huge difference.

2. Smile more often.

Smiling is the body's way of telling my brain to be happy. Because brains have mirror neurons, my smile makes other people happy, too. Smiling is probably the easiest way of all to make the world a better place.

3. Become more mindful.

Good experiences are to be savored. That's only possible if I don't let my mind wander into the past (which is gone) or the future (which is an illusion). If I find my mind wandering, I bring it gently back to the present.

4. Listen more deeply.

Listening means finding the meaning behind the sounds. Hearing is automatic; listening is intentional. When I hear but don't listen, I'm turning even beautiful sounds into just so much noise.

5. Observe more carefully.

Observing means finding the meaning in what's before my eyes. Seeing is automatic; observing is intentional. When I see but don't observe, I'm blinding myself to deeper truths that lie behind the surface.

6. Interrupt less frequently.

Let the other person finish their sentences, even if I'm certain what they're about to say. When I interrupt, I'm saying, "You don't really matter." When let you finish, I'm saying, "You are important."

7. Show more patience.

Some people talk slowly and take time to get the point; other people talk fast and jump from topic to topic. I will let people communicate however it suits them and when necessary, ask questions to help them focus.

8. Judge more slowly.

Your opinions and your rules for life are not universals. Everyone -- even crazy folk -- are doing the best they can with what they've got to work with. Therefore, I'll cut them a little slack.

9. Forgive more easily.

Because I am human, I've sometimes been stupid and thoughtless. Despite that, I've asked for, and been given, many a second chance. I owe other people the same opportunity to make good.

10. Be grateful more often.

I will take a moment each day to recognize all the wonderful things in my life. Even during difficult times, I will appreciate the wonder of conscious existence which, after all, is over all too soon.