Being happy, especially during the festive season, is expected of us - something that happens naturally as we bask in the joy of seasonal goodwill that surrounds us.
Well, to borrow a well known phrase - 'Bah Humbug' to that. The pressures upon our time, our emotions and our finances are likely to have the exact opposite effect.
But there are things we can do to lift that down in the dumps feeling and get those happy hormones moving.
Do something different
Break your usual routine once in a while, preferably by dropping some mundane task in favour of a spontaneous night out or afternoon shopping trip. Being impulsive makes us feel a little bit brave and a little bit naughty, and reminds us that life is there for living sometimes.
Kindness reaps its own rewards
Shift your focus from the personal to helping out a neighbour or even a complete stranger. Volunteer to help out a local charity occasionally, or offer to drive an elderly neighbour to the garden centre on a sunny afternoon. Anything you think might put a smile on someone elses face will undoubtedly put one on yours.
Have you noticed how kids can pick up on the silliest thing, a daft noise, a funny face or comedy voice and be reduced to tears of laughter... intensified with each repetition of the 'silliness'? As adults, we suppress laughter in similar situations through some misguided sense of maturity. Laughter breaks down barriers, improves relationships and releases happy hormones that can boost your mood for the rest of the day - so go on, next time someone trumps or trips up, laugh your socks off!
Fresh air, natural surroundings and a change of scenery can all lift the spirits. Sunlight helps our bodies create mood enhancing Vitamin D and a little bit of extra exercise is good for the body AND the soul!
Delve into the past
Not in a maudlin 'good old days' type of way, but by flicking through old photo albums of happy times and holidays, focussing on the reasons and the people that were making you smile that day. Give one of them a call and reminisce about the fun you were having at the time, then make plans to create more photo opportunities!
Even if its the last thing on earth you feel like doing. If you smile at a stranger you might just make their day... and if they smile back, it could make yours.
If you need help or someone to talk to this Christmas, call Macclesfield Samaritans on 01625 426000.
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