Happiness This Festive Season – 5 Tips from Dr. Happy

Happiness This Festive Season – 5 Tips from Dr. Happy

Most of us will enjoy much happiness this Christmas.

However for many others, this time will be much tougher…maybe because a loved one has passed away; or a marriage has ended; or for a million other reasons it’s just not going to be great.

You see for most people the festive season is an enjoyable celebration with family and friends ê¢__‘Ô_ but for some, Christmas represents a difficult and more challenging time. The good news, however, is that there are things you can do to get through this period with a minimum of distress and hopefully, even some happiness.

Here are my top five tips, based on what the science of postive psychology has shown us works under these circumstances, for being happy at Christmas ê¢__‘Ô_. even if you don’t think you could be.

1. Focus on what you have, not what you don”t have. Especially in the case of relationships. Appreciate the good things and try not to get bogged down in the bad.

2. Actively schedule enjoyable activities. Rather than being passive and thinking “no-one’s phoning me” or “no-one’s inviting me anywhere” – get on the front foot and do the phoning and inviting. Even if it’s just some friends for a quick coffee.

3. Take the pressure off yourself, that “the day” has to be perfect. Accept that this year, it just may not be “the same” ê¢__‘Ô_ and that’s ok. We all have difficult times and we can only do our best.

4. Do whatever you can to spend time with people most important to you ê¢__‘Ô_ it might be your kids, parents or mates. Hang around with people who are energising and positive – their attitude will rub-off on you.

5. Do whatever you can to foster hope and optimism. Try to reassure yourself that next year will be much better. Focussing on the longer-term is the heart of resilience.

Remember, positive psychology (that’s what we practice here at The Happiness Institute) is not just about enjoying happiness and positive emotions during the good times; it is about experiencing happiness as often as possible but positive psychology is also about getting through the tough times as effectively as possible.

So enjoy some happiness this festive season…but if you can’t, at least you might be able to use one of more of the tips above to minimise un-happiness over the next few weeks. And here’s to a great 2009 for us all!