“I think you ought to be happy. It’s a gift to others.”
Let’s depart from the normal ID University editorial flavor for a bit of light-hearted advice from a very talented marketing professor who also happens to be an expert on feeling happy.
As most everyone knows, the holiday season is often filled with pressure, unrealistic expectations, and complicated personal feelings involving family and friends (either their presence or absence). In short, a recipe for sadness rather than joy.
Professor Raj Raghunathan of McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, creator of the blog Happy Smarts and author of the upcoming book If You’re So Smart Why Aren’t You Happy? has spent several years studying the true determinants of leading a happy and fulfilling life.
He has three recommendations for relaxing, enjoying the moment, and facing down negativity during the holidays, and throughout the rest of the year.
1. Employ positive role play
Humans are social creatures, and the holidays bring families and friends together (sometimes too close together). That may mean face time with negative people who can bring your mood down with their non-stop pessimism, anxiety or distrust.
When walking away is not an option, Raghunathan believes the best alternative is to purposely assume the mindset of a happy, fully secure person. “Act like someone who is respected and loved by others, even if you struggle to feel that way at first,” he suggests.