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Happiness…we all want it. Sometimes, we can all feel that familiar feeling of overwhelm coming on. Of course, rather counterproductively, the holiday season can be the cause of a lot of stress. It might be related to seeing that relative that you don’t really get along with, or it might be the added pressure of the increased spending that seems to come along with the holiday season. This can cause us to feel down and generally unhappy. In the Northern Hemisphere, the weather isn’t much help either and can, for some people, be the cause of their sadness. However, here are some tips on how you can boost your happiness. These are the ones that I’ve tried. I use them especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed and angry, and they work. Here’s hoping they do the same for you. 

Try to smile 

SmileI know it’s annoying, and it’s something that women, in particular, are told often. We smile when we’re happy, but it seems to work in reverse too. When we’re happy, the brain releases the ‘happy hormone’ dopamine. The brain is conditioned to associate the action of smiling with the release of dopamine.

So, when you smile, even when you don’t feel like it, the brain is effectively tricked into releasing your happy hormone despite your sour mood. Of course, this won’t work if you go around with a fake smile (read grimace) plastered on your face all day.

What I have found helpful in trying to find little things that would make me smile on a good day. It could be a beautiful sunrise, your dog, flowers…anything that works for you. It explains why flowers are given as get-well gifts, mood-lifting music is played, heartwarming teas are served, etc. Listen to podcasts or subscribe to a flower subscription to make yourself smile regularly. For me, that lightens my mood enough to make me smile at least semi-genuinely. There you go, just like that, a hit of dopamine and a boost in happiness.

Give somebody a compliment

Again, this won’t really work if it’s not at least a little bit genuine. In fact, it could make both of you feel off about the situation. However, if you do find yourself thinking “Wow, I really like her earrings”, telling the person could work to simultaneously boost both of your moods. teeth

Of course, it is important to make sure that you do this respectfully, especially if you are directly commenting on someone’s features or appearance. If done genuinely, it’s likely that you’ll also be the cause of someone else’s smile, give the gift of dopamine. 

Face whatever is bothering you and tackle it head-on

This is quite a difficult one and, in my experience, can backfire if the issue is with a person, so be careful what you do with it.

However, when it comes to tasks and work that we don’t really want to do, it’s pretty safe to face the task and get it done. It’s likely, as is often the case for me, that the task isn’t that bad and might even be quicker than you thought it would be.

Doing this before you get overwhelmed can only help. I need to take this advice more frequently. Unfortunately for all of us, putting off a task and procrastinating doesn’t cause it to disappear.

On the other hand, if it’s a person that is the issue, it’s best to really think about it before you act. Sometimes, having that tough conversation is completely worth it, especially when done right. But it could be that the holiday season isn’t the time for those tough talks. If you’re worried about it, run it past a friend or family member who is neutral first. Unless you have a therapist, then they are definitely best to talk to. According to experts in addiction treatment in Lancaster CA, don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals regarding mental health issues as they will guide you into a holistic approach to treatment. 

Get more sleep to boost happiness

Again, this is something that I’m currently working on. In my case, it is very much a work in progress. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, but during the pandemic, my sleep schedule went completely off-kilter. Since we’ve returned to some normalcy, I have been trying to get this in check. So, if you’re in the same boat, you aren’t alone.

Sleep plays a vital role in our wellbeing and without enough, things can quickly start to fall apart. In general, adults need somewhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night.

Not getting enough sleep can certainly make us more grumpy and more prone to angry outbursts. If, like me, you struggle with sleep, what you need to work on is good sleep hygiene. 

This includes taking steps like:

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day 
  • Put your phone (and laptop, iPad, or any other device) away at least an hour before your bedtime 
  • Take a relaxing bath an hour before bed
  • Keep your room dark and at a comfortable temperature
  • Limit any daytime naps to 20 minutes 

Try to practice gratitude

Too often, we become wrapped up with what isn’t going our way. Humans in general have a tendency to focus on the negatives rather than the positives. But it seems like practicing being grateful on a daily basis can boost your mood. In fact, a recent study found that focusing on the things you’re grateful for can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.

Try starting your day by finding things to be grateful for and focusing on those throughout the day when you begin to feel negative, stressed, or angry. You don’t have to make a list, either. It can literally be just one thing, and it doesn’t have to be big.

Though getting your dream job or a higher salary is definitely a good thing, it could truly just be something like stroking your dog, your morning coffee, or just a compliment you received recently. 



Katie Hart

Katie Hart is a successful health, beauty and fashion blogger with a BA in Fashion Media at LISOF. Her hobbies include styling, reading, true crime podcasts and singing. She is a lover of all things fashion and beauty, but is happiest when sitting with her mini Maltese, Aria.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.