The Happiness Connection  

Happiness tips to get you through the dull days of winter

Avoiding a winter funk

Not only did winter arrive with a blast last week, but we also had to deal with falling back into Pacific Standard Time.

If you’re eagerly anticipating the ski season and don’t mind the cold weather and darker evenings, you may have adjusted to these things with little trouble. However, if you’re like me and love warmth, sunshine and long days of light, this may be a tough time for you.

Here are some happiness truths that can help keep your spirit from falling into a winter funk.

Happiness doesn’t depend on your genes or circumstances.

Some people may be born with a tendency to worry, smile or socialize more than others, but that doesn’t mean your genetic makeup is the only thing that determines your level of happiness. Intentional activity has a greater impact on well-being than genes or circumstances.

Doing something with intention is the opposite of doing things habitually. Consciously choose a positive perspective. Do something kind for another person. Be more mindful in everything you do.

Humans are social creatures.

Not everybody loves to spend huge amounts of time around other people. You don’t have to be the life of the party to benefit from socializing. Whether it’s individuals, small groups, or massive assemblies, being around other’s will boost your happiness as long as their energy is positive.

Don’t let the snow become an excuse for being a hermit. Reach out over the phone, Zoom, FaceTime or any other platform. Take time to smile and chat with the people you come into contact with even if it’s a store cashier.

I had a lovely banter with a couple of gentlemen while I was at the bank yesterday. I think we all left with smiles on our faces. Any opportunity to interact with another person should be grasped. Connection will make you happier.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.

That doesn’t mean being poor will make you happy either. People need enough money to cover their basic needs, but once this happens, more money won’t make you happier.

Studies of very wealthy people and their staff show that employers aren’t appreciably happier than the people who work for them. Lottery winners experience an initial wave of pleasure but return to their pre-win level of wellbeing within six months.

When it comes to happiness, SMART goals aren’t smart.

At work, creating objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound may be best. That isn’t the case with happiness.

It turns out that it’s more effective to pursue vague happiness goals as opposed to specific ones. Rather than deciding you’re going to be in love by the end of 2023, set a goal to feel good as often as you can during the coming year. Another advantage of vague happiness goals is that they are prone to growing stronger over time.

Humans are hardwired to be happy.

Happy people are more creative, healthier, more socially connected and enjoy a greater level of personal and professional success. That isn’t by accident. You’re programmed to spend large amounts of time in a state of positive wellbeing.

That doesn’t mean you should expect to always feel blissful or exhilarated. Happiness comes in a variety of intensities. Aim for feeling good, whatever that looks like for you. Pleasure, satisfaction, and excitement are all expressions of happiness.

Research from Harvard University provides a recipe to help you feel happy on a daily basis.

• Think of three things every day that you’re grateful for.

• Exercise for at least 10 minutes every day.

• Meditate each day for at least 2 minutes.

• Write a thank you note or positive message to someone every day. You don’t have to know them well or send it to them.

• Journal your most positive experiences from the previous 24 hours.

Being happy is a conscious choice. The next time you find yourself sighing over the snow and cold temperatures, remind yourself of this fact. Then reach out to a friend, put on your snow boots and commune with nature, or do something creative.

It’s your life and you get to choose how to feel about it.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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