What to do when the holiday season isn’t joyful.
This holiday season has been rough. I’ve been experiencing a few challenges with family issues, our home, my husband’s health, and even an unwarranted traffic ticket. Where I should be focusing on the joy of the season, instead I have been under a lot of stress not to mention spending a lot of time, energy, and advocacy on complicated issues. Nothing is more demoralizing than to be feeling guilty because a sense of happiness is missing at what should be the most wonderful time of the year.
What to do when stress and depression invade the happiness that should be a part of life — especially during the holiday season?
I remembered a presentation I heard given by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. His point was having a positive, engaged brain is the biggest indicator of success- success in the workplace, success at home, success at having joy during the holiday season.
1) Gratitudes: Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day (Rewires your brain for greater optimism)
2) Journaling: For the two minutes, describe a meaningful experience from over the past 24 hours (Doubles the meaning in your life)
3) Fun Fifteen: Add 15 minutes of fun, active cardio in to your day (Cardio exercise creates a cascade of success)
4) Meditation: Invest your two minutes into training your brain to just watch your breath.No kidding. (Undoes negative effects of multitasking)
5) Conscious Act of Kindness: Spend your two minutes writing an email, thanking one person in your social support network. (Increases greatest predictor of happiness)
As Mr. Achor pointed out, happiness is a work ethic. Unless you make a behavioral change, you will be at the mercy of your physical and biological environment. Don’t let the downside of life rule your state of happiness. Instead, adopt a happiness habit and make the most of this most wonderful holiday season — despite any challenges that come your way.
I’m ready to trade all the stress of late for a positive happiness habit that lasts beyond the holiday season. How about you? Is there a habit you want to try for the next 21 days?