Wow, we’ve completed October, Happy Halloween! Happy Thanksgiving 3 weeks later. Hanukkah in another 3, Christmas and Kwanzaa 2 weeks after that and New Years in another 1. Six holidays in 10 weeks and, oh I forgot, election day is in there too. Happiness to all in this holiday season.

With all these holidays, we should be feeling really happy. But all too often people find themselves more stressed, depressed and disappointed during the holiday season. If you are someone who’s felt like this in past years, it’s time to take a new perspective on the holidays.

Positive psychology focuses on what really makes people happier and does the research to prove it. If you think you’ll be happy with that wonderful new car, think again. In her book, The Myths of Happiness, Sonya Lyubormirsky challenges our cultural ideals of happiness. She shows how old adages carry more truth. When Grandma said “A best friend is your best medicine”, she was right. Social connections and supports really do make people happier.

So for the upcoming holiday season try these tips:

  • Give gifts that are activity based. Material goods only make people happy for a few days or weeks, whereas they can remember and savor an activity, concert or trip for years.
  • Spend time with friends. Community and social support make people happy. If you are spiritual, your community can be through religious or spiritual affiliation.
  • Practice kindness and express gratitude. Take the time to write a letter of thanks, bring homemade cookies to a co-worker, to really appreciate the people in your life. Commit to kindness all year. Too often we get letters of complaint. Too rarely do we send a letter of commendation.
  • Forget about the new car your neighbor got. Social comparison only brings disappointment and striving for more. Focus on the positives already present in your life.

These are just a few steps toward creating a happier life and happier holiday season. If you would like to learn more about how you can be happier all year, call us at Specialized Therapy Associates, 201-488-6678 or see our website