5 Tricks to Get Happy this Holiday Season

 Written by Alexis Sclamberg from Elevate Gen Y.

How many times have you caught yourself saying “I’ll be happy when…”? Happiness can often feel like part of some distant dream life. But here’s the truth: science shows us that we can actually raise our happiness levels right now with small, simple tweaks in our daily routine. You don’t have to wait to have the perfect relationship, body, or job to get happy. Try the following 5 tricks, and you are guaranteed to feel happier — immediately:

5 tips to stay happy this holiday season1. Give yourself a gift. The holidays are all about giving gifts to our families and friends, but how often do we give ourselves gifts? The key to giving yourself a gift is first considering what gives – or will give — you joy. Is it baking cookies? Getting a massage? Going to the movies? The idea of slipping into that cashmere sweater you’ve been eyeing? Find something that gives you joy, and do it, or get it, for yourself.

2. Appreciate the good in your life– it will help you grow more of it. Have you heard of the expression, “What you appreciate appreciates”? The idea is based on the Law of Attraction, that like attracts like. Happiness expert Marci Shimoff explains: “whatever you think feel, say and act on, you draw to yourself like a magnet.” So, rather than focusing on the obstacles and struggles in your life, focus on what’s already good, the things for which you feel gratitude. This will draw more good to you. A study by Dr. Michael McCullough at the University of Miami found that people who describe themselves as grateful have more vitality and optimism, suffer less stress, and have fewer episodes of clinical depression. Try this: Every day for the next 7 days, make a list of experiences, people, moments, and items that you appreciate. Watch as the list grows and grows, and feel your heart swell a little as you write your list. You are actually up’ing your happiness quotient!

3. Send love. Nineteenth century Scottish novelist J.M. Barrie wrote, “those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” You know that doing good for others makes you feel good, but here’s a twist on the usual do-good prescription: send loving kindness to others without even leaving your house. Here’s how it works: picture someone you know—a friend, family member, partner, neighbor, co-worker, whoever. Bring the image of this person to your mind. Now, send them these wishes: “May you be happy. May you feel loved. May you be safe. May you live with ease.” Sending loving energy in this way will increase your own vibration.
Woman lying in bed sleeping4. Sleep. Life around the holidays is hectic. Family visits, entertaining guests, holiday parties, buying and wrapping gifts…the list goes on and on. Prioritizing getting a good night’s sleep (or at least a little more sleep than you’ve been getting) will boost your happiness level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown a strong correlation between sleep and happiness—and a study published in Science in 2004 showed that the quality of your sleep has a greater influence on your ability to enjoy your day than your marital status or household income!

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5 tricks to help you get happy this holiday season5. Savor good things to retrain your brain. Psychologist and brain researcher Dr. Rick Hansen says that our “brains are Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity.” We’ve all experienced this—you get 10 compliments and 1 insult, and what do you keep replaying in your mind? The insult. Our minds get bogged down in the negative. But here’s the good news for your happiness: we can retrain our brains. And here’s the easiest trick for doing it: savor your positive thoughts and experiences. Spend 20 seconds soaking in, so to speak, a positive thought, emotion, or moment. This will start to retrain your brain and incline it towards happiness.

If you’re looking for more ways to get happy, feel inspired, and get what you want in life, check out the Borrowed Wisdom World Summit, a free online 12-week interview series with top personal growth and wellness experts. You’ll get more concrete tools and practical tips for getting a life you truly love.

(The Borrowed Wisdom World Summit is powered by Elevate Gen Y, a company whose mission it is to inspire and empower individuals to live happy, healthy, meaningful lives and give back to their communities and the world.)

Avatar About Melissa Hillier

Melissa lives in Florida with her husband and five kiddos. She writes about her family life at jonahbonah. When she isn’t chasing children you can find her behind her sewing machine or her camera. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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