If candy canes and silver lanes are aglow, and there’s a tree up in the Grand Hotel, then you know the holidays are near. Instead of hop-along boots and dolls that walk and talk, try giving more happiness this year to friends, family, strangers and even yourself. With practices like gratitude, generosity, mindfulness, kindness and self-care we can make the holidays a little merrier for all.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Community choirs can be great way to stay connected. A special program in San Francisco called the Community of Voices is an adult choir (55 and up) designed to reduce loneliness in our older population and restore interest back into their lives. In a joint study with UC San Francisco and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), researchers hope to gain insight into adult loneliness by using art-based interventions. While the study didn’t show any real cognitive or physical benefits, those who sang with a choir for at least six months did report improvement in loneliness and interest in life.
Say No to a Material World
Materialism has been getting a bad rap lately, and for good reason. A pair of studies on the subject of getting more stuff finds that the increase of materialism in our lives contributes to an unhappy marriage with greedy little ones. According to a report published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, when couples show a high importance on material things such as clothes or the latest gadgets, less importance is placed in the marriage itself contributing to lower marriage satisfaction. An additional study in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that kids who were more materialistic were less generous and giving. The cure for this stinginess is to practice more awareness of your materialism as well as being grateful for the things you do have.
Visions of Sugar Plums
If you are not getting enough sleep at night, you may be turning yourself into an angrier person. Research from Iowa State University finds that losing a few hours of sleep a night can lead to anger and irritability, affecting how you handle frustrating situations properly. That’s no way to behave, Crab Apple. Why should you get more sleep? Well, for one, it will make you happier and healthier. But, a study just released from Baylor University, finds that students who average eight hours of sleep performed better on their finals than the students who sacrificed sleep to study. Pulling an all-nighter is just not smart, so give yourself the proper self-care by getting proper rest.
A Gift of Peace
NBA star and mental-health advocate Kevin Love recently donated Headspace subscriptions and mental-health training sessions to student athletes and coaches at his alma mater of UCLA. Kevin has been open about his own struggles with mental health and is now dedicated to making sure young athletes have access to mental-health screenings and simple tools to keep their minds healthy and happy. In a recent statement Kevin said, “It is incredibly important to the mind as well as the body to be at peak performances in all aspects of life, and Headspace makes it so easy for student-athletes to integrate mental training into their everyday regimens.” Kudos to Kevin.