5 Healthy Tips For Joy This Holiday Season
Outward happiness is a strong indicator of overall well-being. Poor holiday traditions like excessive shopping and overeating can stress the body emotionally as well as physically. Feelings of holiday sadness, loneliness or even depression can develop as a result. Statistically, instances of emergency psychiatric care increase during the holiday season, with many patients reporting feelings of loneliness and “being without family.”
It’s such a shame, as the holiday season is supposed to be a time for joy, love and togetherness. Research continues to demonstrate that a positive, happy mindset contributes to a healthy lifestyle—not just the other way around. Positivity actually helps the body decrease levels of inflammation. That’s why it’s important to maintain a sense of joy, purpose, wonder, happiness and gratitude during the holiday season.
Below are five practical tips to help you stay mentally tough throughout the Christmas season.
Spirituality, prayer and religious study help us overcome short-term hardships and even help to prevent long-term cognitive decline. Yakir Kaufman, director of neurology services at the Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem, told Wired magazine, “We learned that patients with higher levels of spirituality or higher level of religiosity may have a significantly slower progression of cognitive decline.” Stick to your religious or spiritual routine to help keep an even keel during the fast-paced, chaotic holiday season.
Financial burdens are the leading source of emotional stress for many Americans. Plan a careful yet realistic budget and stick to it. Cut out as many little costs as possible (skipping your daily Starbucks can save you $1,000 a year!). When buying gifts, take out all the cash you need prior to shopping. If you’re shopping online, print out all receipts and keep in an easy-to-access location. Whenever possible, pay any new credit card charges the same day to prevent the accumulation of interest. Credit card debt adds up quickly. Keep your mind clear and healthy by knowing exactly how much you paid for an item and when it was paid off.
As trite as it sounds, laughter actually has physiological benefits. A study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine showed that laughing causes blood vessels to naturally dilate, which improves blood flow. This allows your veins and arteries to function at full capacity. Gather with loved ones or watch a funny holiday movie to reap the healthy benefits of laughter.
If you have an exercise routine, stick to it. If you don’t, then start one today. Exercising causes the brain to release endorphins that make you feel better. High-intensity, short-duration surge training can elicit this feel-good effect without taking a chunk of time away from your day. Surge training also offers the benefit of the afterburn effect, in which the body continues to burn calories for up to 48 hours after exercise is completed. These two effects combine to help you stay positive during the holidays, while also fighting seasonal weight gain. This is particularly important during the holidays as it’s estimated that people gain an average of one pound during the month of December–and that for most, it never goes away.
If one of your vertebrae is pinching or otherwise damaging your spinal cord—especially in your neck—you will experience symptoms of illness or constant aching. Prolonged aches, pains and sickness can cause significant mental stress and even wear you down physically. Specific spinal correction repairs this damage and restores the natural curvature of your spine. A recent study of 104 infants showed that “chiropractic manual therapy improved crying behavior in infants with colic.” These findings were independent of parental bias. Once your spinal health is restored, your body and mind can resume operating as they were naturally designed. Furthermore, a study of over 2,000 patients with depression found that 76 percent of them who participated in chiropractic care reported improvement in their mood and overall outlook for months after their last treatment.
All considered, it’s really not that big of an effort. The big danger is in doing nothing and just thinking you can power through another holiday season. Be smart about it this time. Be happy for your spouse. Be happy for your kids. Be happy for you.