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Hoda Kotb's 5 'secrets of happiness' she tries to do every day

TODAY is exploring the "Secrets of Happiness" in a week-long series on the latest reseach on well-being at home, work and in our relationships.
/ Source: TODAY

We all approach personal happiness differently, but TODAY’s Hoda Kotb has five special ways she builds her own happiness daily.

  • Write down three things you feel grateful for daily.
  • Write down something great that happened within the past 24 hours.
  • Exercise a little each day.
  • Meditate for a few minutes each day.
  • Perform a random act of kindness.

“Somebody says if you do all five of those things a day, it works. And I’m pretty happy,” she says.

Hoda shared her "Secrets of Happiness" as part of the week-long TODAY series airing through Friday which explores the latest research on well-being at home, work and in our relationships.

On Monday, TODAY featured scenes form the new documentary film, “Pursuing Happiness.” The filmmakers— Nicholas Kraft and Adam Shell — interviewed more than 400 people after learning the United States ranked 23 in the world when it came to happiness.

There’s real desire by Americans to pursue happiness. According to the #BeHappyTODAY Poll, 72 percent of people would rather be happy than have more money (only 28 percent yearn for more cash).

One of the characters in the documentary is John Lawson. After losing his two hands to a fire, no one would have been surprised if Lawson felt angry and resentful. But, that’s not what Lawson did. He chooses to be happy and lives each day to its fullest.

“I look for the funny. I think that life is too short,” he says. “Happiness doesn’t come from having a perfect life. It’s how you make the imperfect perfect; how you deal with them.”

Lawson is one of dozens of people featured in the new documentary film,

Throughout the filming, Kraft and Shell found some seriously happy people and learned how people remain happy.

What do happy people do differently? They choose to be happy.

This amazingly simple act can make you happier, study finds

“The only thing we’re in control of is how we live and the choices that we make and the choice to be happy and to be positive and the choice to be grateful,” says Gloria Borges, another subject of the documentary.

When Borges was a 28-year-old rising star in her law firm, she learned she had stage four colon cancer. Despite the challenges, Borges still chooses happiness.

“She says this beautiful thing: to get excited about the future is disrespectful for the day,” says Kraft.

Many of the subjects in “Pursuing Happiness” are like Borges and Lawson. They faced serious adversity and overcame it.

“You can’t be human without having both ends of the spectrum. What happens when something bad does happen? How do we get from that place to a place of happiness? Finding your way back to a place of happiness in the midst of that is really the most incredible thing,” says Shell.

“Live Happy” Editor-at-Large, Stacy Kaiser says several factors play into happiness. But personal choice and motivation remains key.

“Happiness is impacted by the way we’re raised, some of it is genetic, it has to do with the circumstances that we are currently in, but ultimately happiness can be generated from inside of us,” Kaiser says.