Holiday Happiness Helpers

Six Ways to Bring On Joy



MorganStudio/Shutterstock.com

To truly enjoy the holidays, try these simple, research-based practices to maintain a healthy state of mind.
 

1 Set an intention to enjoy the holidays. By making the conscious decision to be open to true well-being and happiness, we’ll be more likely to have our “antenna” up, so we’re alert to uplifting moments.

2 Savor moments of well-being. Beyond being grateful for feeling good, savor how the experience registers in body, mind and spirit for a period of 15 or 30 seconds. The longer we hold an emotionally stimulating experience in our awareness, the more neural connections form in our brains to strengthen it in memory.

3 Take a break to regain focus. If we are feeling overwhelmed by everything on the to-do list, remember to take a few deep breaths. Then take a break and enjoy a cup of tea or a hot bath. Try some yoga or exercise. Leave the holiday activity mode for a bit and just relax.

4 Practice gratitude. Rather than take good fortune for granted, consciously reflect upon all the blessings apparent in each day. When we directly express appreciation to loved ones and friends while we’re with them, everyone feels the joy of the loving connection.

5 Practice generosity. Neuroscience research shows that performing an altruistic act lights up the same pleasure centers in the brain as food and sex. When an impulse to be generous arises, act on it and notice the expansive feeling that blesses us when we share.

6 Play and have fun. The holidays allow us to let ourselves feel like we did when we were kids. Be around children if possible. Tune into and take delight in their enthusiasm. Singing or dancing is an excellent way to move out of our head and open our heart to the joy within.

Remember that happiness is contagious: If we’re happy, we increase the odds that close friends and family will be happy, too.


James Baraz is a co-founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, in Woodacre, CA, and co-author of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness and Awakening Joy for Kids: A Hands-On Guide for Grown-Ups to Nourish Themselves and Raise Mindful, Happy Children. Connect at AwakeningJoy.info.

 

The Holiday Secret

Based on his study What Makes for a Merry Christmas?, psychologist Tim Kasser told the American Psychological Association: “[Our study] found that to the extent people focused their holiday season around materialistic aims like spending and receiving, the less they were focused on spiritual aims… We also found people reported ‘merrier’ Christmases when spirituality was a large part of their holiday, but reported lower Christmas well-being to the extent that the holiday was dominated by materialistic aspects.”


Photo credit: Tymonko Galyna/Shutterstock.com


This article appears in the December 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

The S P A C E Sanctuary Opens in Chappaqua

The S P A C E Sanctuary Opens in Chappaqua

“It was created as a place to gather, rest, breathe and heal.”
Bernadette Bloom Discusses Esoteric Healing on The Transformation Show

Bernadette Bloom Discusses Esoteric Healing on The Transformation Show

5 to 6 p.m. on March 7
Ward Off Spring Allergens with Nettle Leaf Tea

Ward Off Spring Allergens with Nettle Leaf Tea

Something as simple as drinking nettle leaf tea prior to and during early spring can be a helpful preventive practice.
Petition Demands Environmental Impact Study of Cricket Valley Project

Petition Demands Environmental Impact Study of Cricket Valley Project

Davenport is urging people to sign the petition asking New York leaders for an updated environmental impact study of the Cricket Valley Energy project.
Fresh Organic Becoming ‘Go-To’ Salon for Hair and Scalp Issues

Fresh Organic Becoming ‘Go-To’ Salon for Hair and Scalp Issues

Feeding the Future in Yonkers

Feeding the Future in Yonkers

Feed Your Future is part of a larger mission to empower communities to reclaim and revitalize environmentally and economically under-served neighborhoods.
Riverkeeper Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Riverkeeper Film Screening and Panel Discussion

5:30 to 9 p.m., March 5, at the Newburgh Brewing Company
NewLife Expo Returns to New York City in March

NewLife Expo Returns to New York City in March

March 22 through 24
Rhinebeck Pilates Plans April Conference at Jacob’s Pillow

Rhinebeck Pilates Plans April Conference at Jacob’s Pillow

April 26 to 28
Hilltop Hanover Farm Holds Maple Fest Weekends

Hilltop Hanover Farm Holds Maple Fest Weekends

March 23 to 24 and March 30 to 31
CBD Info Talks in Bedford Hills

CBD Info Talks in Bedford Hills

Free informational session on CBD products every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Juice Detoxes Work Better and Faster

Juice Detoxes Work Better and Faster

“The body doesn’t have to break down the solids, and the results are faster and better.”
Karen Drucker: Live at the United Palace

Karen Drucker: Live at the United Palace

7 p.m. on April 8
Free Spirit Holistic Expo Coming to Area

Free Spirit Holistic Expo Coming to Area

June 2, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Center for Green Building Opens in Mamaroneck

Center for Green Building Opens in Mamaroneck

Grand opening, including complimentary food and drinks, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 23.
Chef Alex Raij Serves Up Glynwood Farm Dinner

Chef Alex Raij Serves Up Glynwood Farm Dinner

6:30 to 10 p.m. on March 9
Equilibrium Studio Opens in Pawling

Equilibrium Studio Opens in Pawling

Equilibrium offers yoga, Pilates and Barre, as well as stretching and strengthening classes designed to help people rehabilitate from injuries and improve their athletic performance.
Dance the Weekend Away in Saratoga

Dance the Weekend Away in Saratoga

February 15 through 17
Natural Remedies Can Boost Immunity in Winter

Natural Remedies Can Boost Immunity in Winter

There is scientific evidence that acupuncture has a positive effect on the immune system.
Facial Massage Has Holistic Benefits

Facial Massage Has Holistic Benefits

“A well-performed facial massage is a glorious treat that will reduce puffiness, improve skin tone and enrich complexion."
‘Grandfather of Integrative Dermatology’ to Teach His Methods

‘Grandfather of Integrative Dermatology’ to Teach His Methods

“I encourage anyone living with unsolved chronic skin conditions to make an appointment and see how we can help you.”
Opioid Crisis Focus in Somers

Opioid Crisis Focus in Somers

1 to 3 p.m. February 7
Valerie Nivar Offers Natural Solutions for ‘Invisible Illnesses’

Valerie Nivar Offers Natural Solutions for ‘Invisible Illnesses’

“I am passionate about empowering my clients to achieve motivation and confidence and to live their best life.”
Sugaring Program at Sugar Hill Farm

Sugaring Program at Sugar Hill Farm

February 23
Holistic Chamber of Commerce Adds Poughkeepsie Chapter

Holistic Chamber of Commerce Adds Poughkeepsie Chapter

The new chapter will promote and support holistic and sustainable professionals and business owners in the Hudson Valley.
Synchronicity Brings Healing through Psychic Readings

Synchronicity Brings Healing through Psychic Readings

“These readings help offer guidance and insight into life situations.”
Microdermabrasion Now Offered by Daniela Hortencio

Microdermabrasion Now Offered by Daniela Hortencio

“It’s basically an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation procedure that leaves skin looking softer and brighter.”
Alternatives to Violence Project Seeking Workshop Facilitators

Alternatives to Violence Project Seeking Workshop Facilitators

The next Basic workshop in Westchester will take place March 8 to 10.

Add your comment: