How to Find Happiness (During The Holiday Season and Beyond)
Posted on 29 November 2015
In the US, Thanksgiving, the day of giving thanks for what we have, was over by mere seconds before the hoards hit the web and lined up at stores to buy buy buy buy (because what we have is never enough) during the Black Friday Sales. And of course Cyber Monday will be upon us in a matter of hours. This insanity isn't just an American tradition anymore - it has spread to us in Canada and other parts of the world. In a time when there is so much hate, and tragedy, and sadness, people are allowing their fear to turn them into crazy consumers. They're purchasing tons of stuff they (and the people around them) don't need to try to fill a void, to bring happiness into their lives. Unfortunately, we've seen this pattern time and time again during history, but in reality it doesn't help, does it?
Don't get me wrong, we all buy lots of gifts during the holidays, and there is nothing wrong with searching out a good deal. I'm not saying you shouldn't shop on Black Friday - we had deals here at Little Misfits and lots of people took advantage of them, and I went out and shopped too. All I'm saying is we don't need to take it to the extreme. We don't need to line up seconds after acting grateful for what we have to buy more stuff. Maybe try making a few of your Christmas presents instead, put a spending limit on what you're buying, and try to shop local and support small businesses. These are all a recipe for a happy holiday shopping season.
Back to what I was saying about bringing happiness in though. Here are some great tips for finding happiness already existing in your life, within yourself.
Live Gratefully - Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to bring happiness into your life. There is nothing better than counting your blessings and remembering all of the reasons you should feel happy each day. One of the easiest ways to bring this into your routine is to keep a gratitude journal. You can buy one, or DIY one from a notebook or binder. Keep it beside your bed, and before you put your feet on the floor in the morning list three things you are grateful for. Even if you're in a tough period of your life, there is always something to be grateful for. Maybe the sun is peaking through your curtains, maybe it's payday and you can afford to get a coffee this morning, or perhaps it's Saturday and your kids let you sleep in an extra half hour. There is always something.
Start Your Morning Right - Besides writing in your gratitude journal, there are some easy ways to start your morning off right that will bring happiness into your day.
- Drink a glass of water. It will replenish your body and wake you up.
- Get dressed, even if you work from home or have planned to spend the day on the couch. At least put on some yoga pants and a bra, you'll feel much more productive and it will chase away those morning blahs.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. It will give you the energy you need to get on with your day, whatever you have to tackle. Having ample energy makes it easier to look on the bright side and find your inner happiness.
Don't Depend on Stuff - One of the reasons we feel "happiness" around the holidays is the prospect of getting new stuff. Usually this dwindles as we get older, but we are all guilty from buying things to make ourselves feel better from time to time. Instead of finding happiness in receiving, try to find the joy in giving gifts this holiday season. Think about the best present you can make/find/buy for each special person in your life, and imagine their face opening the gift from you. That is where the happiness lies, in seeing others enjoying the holidays. However, you don't even need to give stuff to get the benefit of this. If you have kids, which you probably do since you're here, you can see them light-up in many other situations too.
- Visiting Santa Claus always makes kids smile... except for those kids that scream and cry. Pursue at your own risk.
- Making Christmas gifts for their teachers, friends, and family. Help your kids with some fun holiday crafts to get in the spirit of the holidays, spend some quality time with them, and knock some items off your shopping list. Win-win-win.
- Make a snowman. If you live in a northern climate, put your work aside for an hour and build a snowman with the kids. If you don't get snow, perhaps you can make a sandman? Or do some other outdoors activity!
Stay Healthy - This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's totally not. There are so many nasty germs floating around this time of year, it is really important to protect yourself. Eat well, keep up an exercise routine (even just walking or yoga is great), drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, and take vitamins if you're starting to feel run down. There's nothing worse than trying to Christmas shop with kids in tow when you're not feeling well! Staying healthy a major key to staying happy!
Don't Forget Mental Health - You may be taking care of your body, but don't forget to take care of your mind. In conjunction with your heart, it is the root of your happiness, and you need it now more than ever! There are many ways to take care of your mental health, and they don't even cost anything!
- Yoga, yoga, yoga. The best thing about yoga is it takes care of your physical health and your mental health all at once. Thinking positively, setting good intentions, and relaxing your mind are all important for your happiness. You can find tons of free yoga videos on Youtube - I like Yoga with Adriene myself, and make it a part of your daily routine.
- Meditation. If you're loving the mat high you get from yoga, take it one step further and start meditating. I know it sounds scary, I'm only a beginner myself, but it makes a huge difference in my day. I can use it to just relax, to stop an anxiety attack in its tracks, or to dig deep within my soul and find the happiness that lies within.
- You time. Spend time alone - sit in a cafe and drink a coffee in silence, go for a drive and look at the Christmas lights, wrap presents by the glow of the fire. There are a million things you can do in solitude that will help you unwind after the busy mall or dealing with kids on Christmas vacation. Peace and quiet is vital to happiness.
It All Starts With You - It may sound cheesy, but happiness comes from within. You can't buy it, you can't manufacture it, you can't expect it to magically appear. It is within you and just needs to be discovered and realized. Think positively, keep your life as low stress as possible, spend time with family and friends, relax at the end of a long day, and take time for all of the suggestions above. This lifestyle will bring you closer to happiness each day, and will keep you calm during the holiday insanity. When in doubt, use the famous phrase to unleash your angsty energy - SERENITY NOW, or what we've been using around here recently...
Happy holidays from the team at Little Misfits, and may you carry these tips for finding happiness with you through the holiday season and into the new year.