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Happiness for the Holidays

In this episode, I want to share key steps for managing your Happiness this year in the Holidays.

If you’re American, Thanksgiving is coming up next week. For many of us, across the world, the Christmas holidays and other faith-based holidays are coming up. We’re coming close to the end of the year and, of course, the pandemic is still raging. Despite whatever science you have at your disposal, it’s possible that you may still be planning to meet with family and friends… in person. It’s not my recommendation, but I’m sure it will happen.

To help you prepare for these events, I would like to share a bit of research about how you can manage your happiness… especially if you are getting together with family which often brings an extra set of stress pressures.

Managing Holiday Happiness

Lately, I’ve been rereading a lot of the research on the science of happiness… and so much of it aligns and agrees with each other. In the coral circles, one researcher (Seligman) defines three key elements:

  • The Pleasant Life: savoring our daily tasks, being present in our day
  • The Good Life: using our skills for enrichment
  • The Meaningful Life: working for the greater good in support of a purpose

A second researcher (Pink) lays out triad of:

  • Purpose
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery

Notice how Mastery and Purpose align with the Good Life and Meaningful Life.

A third research team focused on the workplace (the O. C. Tanner group) found four key elements:

  • connecting to accomplishment
  • connecting to purpose
  • connecting to each other
  • permission to make decisions, lead, and innovate

Notice again how three of these align so well with Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery!

The final researcher (Csikszentmihalyi) defined three more items (one shown here in the blue circle):

  • how we control our inner experience
  • how we interpret the events around us
  • how we cultivate and defend our happiness

As you see in the final set of factors is a personal choice, a decision about happiness. Happiness is an intentional choice… a controllable state of being.

When we can find and focus on our greater purpose, when we can feel a sense of autonomy and control about how we do our work, and when we can use our skills (and master our skills) for enriching our work and ourselves…

When we can learn how we can control our thoughts, behaviors, feelings and, therefore, our physical being….

When we can savor the moments and the magic of life…

… THEN we can learn to manage our happiness, and live in a state of Deep Joy.

The O. C. Tanner Great Work Study found that when we, as workers, are granted these freedoms, our sense of being appreciated goes up. Our well-being increases. We are energized. We feel more opportunity to move ahead. And our engagement goes up. Some of these factors double, triple, and some even increase seven-fold! And if this happens at work, we can feel the same improvements at home. And in how we ‘show up’ for the holiday gatherings.

This is my guidance for each of you facing the holidays.

If you can take these elements to heart. Head into those gatherings thinking about your Pleasant Life, Good Life, and Meaningful Life. Prepare for the event by considering your Purpose, your Mastery, and your Autonomy. If you can Cultivate & Defend your Happiness.

If YOU can face the holidays and end of year with these in mind, your engagement in LIFE increases. Your energy and positivity will flow over to those around you. Research shows also that our immunity goes up when our happiness rises (not immunity to COVID-19, but lesser issues like colds and flu).

Your own Deep Joy is critical in the world these days… especially in the holiday season and the end of the year. A crazy year. Everyone needs help and YOU can be the leader, the one with Deep Joy, that brings that to your circle of family and friends.

As you head into the end of year, I hope you’ll clothe yourself in the ‘armor’ of a Deep Joy mindset. Feel gratitude for the turkey gravy, pumpkin pies, and your grandparents or grandchildren. Savor the favorite moments and make new memories, new ways of enjoying the old traditions. Be fully present in your time with them, not distracted by a bad memory from last week, issues at work, or what you’ll be doing tomorrow. Soak in the moments you have with your loved ones. It might be on a video call… that might be all that’s safe and possible this year. But share your face, your self, on video. Seeing each other eye to eye really does matter.

Be patient… stress is high and tolerance is low. Be a leader. Be the one that brings Deep Joy to the table and is the role model for the best, weirdest, holidays ever. We’ll look back on 2020 as crazy, but let’s cherish and enjoy our family in spite of it.

I wish you all the best for the holidays to come and the final days of 2020. I hope this has been helpful. I’m also open to commentary and always here to help.

My husband, Roger, and I… always savoring our time together… still in love after 23 years.

Published by Thene Sheehy

Living & Working in Northern Portugal