So which is it? The Christmas music? The Christmas shopping? The Christmas lights? The Holiday parties? The Holiday baking? Family gatherings? There are so many great things about the holidays to look forward to and cherish. Unfortunately, many of these same things that bring such joy can also bring on feelings of stress and unhappiness. Nothing could be 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.
In a previous post, I've shared how achieving and maintaining a state of happiness has been an interest of mine ever since I read the wonderful book by Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project. While a drop on the happiness meter can occur at any time during the year, when it happens in December, a month overflowing in reasons to be happy, it can seem overwhelming. Who has time or energy to focus on self improvement? There are already a million well-meaning things to do that are whittling away at Christmas happiness. Who wants to add another even if it will help in finding some holiday cheer?
Recently, I got to hear a presentation 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.
Photo courtesy of Good Think Inc.Shawn claims that if you just give two minutes a day in practicing a positive happiness habit for just 21 days in a row, you will be happier and your happiness will naturally spread to those around you--an added benefit. Here is a list of five happiness habits to choose from:
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 all the holiday activities rule your state of happiness. Instead, begin today in adopting a happiness habit and make the most of this most wonderful time of the year.
Which habit are you going to try for the next 21 days?