The upcoming holidays are a great opportunity to focus on happiness and the good feelings that come with giving and spending time with the people you love most.
We all know that the holidays can be busy and stress inducing, but this year you should try to take things easy, maintain realistic expectations, and focus on happiness and loved ones over gifts and entertaining.
- Practice KindnessÂ â€“ PerformingÂ acts of kindnessÂ releases serotonin â€” a chemical in your brain that has majorÂ health benefits. Being selfless and helping others reduces stress and increases our over-all sense of wellbeing.
- Express GratitudeÂ â€“Â Focus on what you have rather than what you want. When you show appreciation for what you have, it may become more valuable to you and deepen your sense of happiness.
- Avoid social comparison â€“ Comparing yourself to someone else is a toxic habit. If we’re “better” than someone else, it leads us to an unhealthy sense of superiority, and if we’re “worse”, we tend to discredit our hard work and dismiss our achievements. If you feel the need to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
- Forgive â€“ Harboring negative feelings will only make you feel worse. Donâ€™t put yourself in a state of negativity that will stay with you all day (or longer), forgive and move on, so you can focus on the positive things in your life.
- Take care of your body â€“ Happy people tend to make more of an effort to maintain their wellbeing. If your physical energy is not in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed has shown that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?Â Not only that, but the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
- Stop to smell the RosesÂ â€“ Deep happiness cannot exist without embracing life’s enjoyable experiences. When we forget to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life, we may miss the things that are most rewarding.
All evidence points to a strong relationship between positivity and health, so do your best to be optimistic and to go with the flow when things arenâ€™t going as planned. Thereâ€™s no benefit in sweating the small stuff.
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 Loehr, James E, and Tony Schwartz. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. New York: Free Press, 2003. Print.