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November 26, 2013

While considering ways to decrease holiday stress, we should also look at ways to increase holiday happiness. In fact, increasing your holiday happiness may be the best way to decrease holiday stress. Recent research has revealed that when we engage in activities that are meaningful to us, we are more inspired, motivated, and happy. The holidays create abundant and awesome opportunities for us to instill meaning in our lives and the lives of others. Some such opportunities include donating a holiday meal to a needy family, taking someone shopping who is disabled or does not have a car, inviting someone who might otherwise be alone and depressed to share a family meal with you (if they are safe for you and your family), buying gifts for others instead of yourself, picking up a tree for someone who cannot afford one, checking in with your church to see what activities or projects you could support, serving food to the homeless through a local agency like Salvation Army, sending a box through Operation Christmas Child, donating your used iPhone or laptop to a family without any, and more. Additional things might include starting that exercise or yoga program, drafting that book, pulling out your old guitar or keyboard or treating yourself to a new one if it is in the budget, listening to music you love, taking steps toward obtaining that degree and career that would bring you joy, getting professional help to improve that relationship with your son, daughter, spouse, or parent; planning a trip to somewhere you have always wanted to go; setting up a structured plan to incorporate exercise, meditation, hobbies, and self nurturing into your busy schedule; taking a much needed break to catch your breath. What else can you think of that could bring you meaning, and by doing so bring you and others happiness? While considering ways to decrease holiday stress, we should also look at ways to increase holiday happiness.