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Before you have a baby, it's impossible to imagine the highs you'll feel -- what can match seeing that big, toothless grin or watching him take those first wobbly steps? But it's just as hard to conceive of how stressful raising kids can be -- the worry, the fatigue, and the occasional pang over your lost freedom. The truth is, staying in good spirits with a little one at home can take some effort. But it's well worth it: Your happiness is not only vital for your own body and soul, but for your baby's too. In fact, one of the best ways to raise happy children is to model happiness ourselves, says Christine Carter, Ph.D., sociologist and author of Raising Happiness. So how do you find your bliss amid diapers and dirty dishes? First, try to recognize the humor in the ridiculousness. Research shows that laughter can relieve stress by "resetting" your nervous systems. And employ a few (or all!) of these proven pick-me-ups to stay on the sunny side of mommyhood.
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