Did you know that the holidays offer an opportunity for you to strengthen one of the top predictors of lasting happiness? Here are a few hints about what we are referring to. Lasting happiness is not found in…
- Buying presents or opening presents.
- Eating festive foods or drinking holiday spirits.
- Holiday rituals, work bonuses or vacation time.
Lasting Happiness is however found in cultivating your relationships with others!!
Socialize to Increase Your Health & Happiness
The magic of the holidays can be found in your human encounters. Research shows that spending time with others causes your brain to release oxytocin and opioid peptides. These are powerful healing hormones that increase relaxation, calm the mind and reduce stress. To help demonstrate the importance of social connections, let’s consider what happens when you don’t engage in
regular socializing. According to Harvard Medical School not spending time with friends has been shown to be as detrimental to your health as smoking or being overweight. That is a bold discovery and offers a strong incentive to allow your holiday socials to be a source of health and happiness.
Be a Leader of Connection vs. Disconnection
If you are like many people your social calendar is pretty filled up this time of year. Although social busyness can be a source of stress, by remaining conscious of the benefits you can use it as a powerful strategy to replenish and rebalance your energy levels. Allow the holidays to serve as a resource of social support and meaningful connections. To assist you with making your holiday socials meaningful we invite you to become a leader of connection vs. disconnection. Here are basic guidelines to foster connection in your communications:
- Focus on the positive
Consider asking yourself, ‘What do I appreciate about this person, this situation, this time of year or my life right now?’ Share this in your conversations with others.
- Listen with the same intensity you wish to be heard
Ask yourself, ‘What is the feeling this person is trying to convey in their communication?’ If it feels healthy, allow yourself to connect with this person on an emotional level. Acknowledge what you believe they are feeling emotionally. Any time you bring the conversation to an emotional level you deepen the opportunity for connection.
- Be compassionate
If you are attending family events consider giving some room for others to be less than perfect. Family tensions can be heightened during the holidays. Don’t choose holiday events to deal with family issues, instead set differences aside for a more appropriate time. If an issue does arise, don’t choose to fight fire with fire, consider water instead. Redirect any communications towards connection vs. disconnection. You might repeat the following affirmation to center your mind on compassion, ‘Just like me this person desires to be loved and cared for, has hopes and dreams and is doing their best to get their needs met.’
- Appreciate diversity
Consider taking an interest in the inherent diversity you may have with others. Allow any differences to be a source of curiosity, contribution and discovery.
Spend time this holiday season enjoying the health benefits of increased social activities!
Hilary Stokes Ph.D. and Kim Ward Ph.D. have been a team for 20 years, specializing in mind, body, spirit psychology. They are the authors of the bestselling books The Happy Map: Your roadmap to the habit of happiness and Manifesting Mindset: The 6-step formula for attracting your goals and dreams and founders of Authenticity Associates Coaching and Counseling. They are passionate about combining the best of holistic and traditional approaches to health and happiness. If you are interested in learning the answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to decrease stress and increase happiness sign up for their free video series.