The unusual secret to a happier festive season

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Dec 10, 2021
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The festive season is a time filled with joy.

We get to spend time with loved ones, eat delicious food and receive fantastic presents. So, why is it that we sometimes feel exhausted,deflated and frankly – a little stressed during this time?

In this article, we are going to explore why focusing on giving,rather than focusing on receiving could be the secret to a happier, more relaxed festive period.

Festive Stress

We can often feel pressure to be happy during this time of year. Yet, for many of us, stress can take hold. In turn, this can often lead to us entering the new year exhausted and less than inspired to have our best year yet.

It’s hardly how we want to feel when getting a fresh start!

With so much to do during this time, higher levels of stress aren’t all that surprising. We have presents to buy, work to finish, parties to attend, family to see and epic meals to cook. Sure, all these can be great fun, but it can all become a little overwhelming to say the least – and that is before we even mention COVID-19!

But worry not! There might just be an answer to the festive stress, hidden in plain sight.

Why Giving=Happiness

Giving during the festive season could just be the secret that will turn you from a bauble of stress into a beaming ray of festive cheer.Below we explore exactly why this is:

Remove Comparison

Of course, it is not unusual or bad to get excited about receiving presents from others during the festive season. However, although we can be gracious, human psychology often leads to the burst of happiness we get being short lived.

As humans we are rarely satisfied with what we have for long. For example, we can work for years to buy our dream house, but within weeks of owning it we suddenly find ourselves comparing our home to those of our neighbours or those we see on social media.

A similar thing happens when we receive a gift. The novelty of owning a new ‘thing’ can wear off quickly,leading you to focus on the next bigger and better ‘thing’.

It is believed that this doesn’t happen when we give. In fact, studies have shown that small and consistent giving can provide on going levels of happiness, whilst consistent levels of receiving will actually lead to happiness levels dropping over time.

In practice, this means that we need to continuously receive bigger gifts in order to feel the same levels of happiness. Yet small, consistent levels of giving can provide us with the same level of happiness every time.

Get Good Chemicals

So, why does giving feel so fantastic?

It's all about chemicals.Scientific studies have shown that when we give we secrete several “feel good” chemicals. These include serotonin (this mediates our mood), dopamine (this makes us feel great) and Oxycontin (this makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside).

Build Stronger Relationships

Although you certainly shouldn’t give in order to receive, when you give generously you are more likely to receive good will from others in the future. This could be in the form of reciprocated gifts, but can also take the form of love, time and energy.

Giving selflessly is an important part of building strong relationships. In turn, these relationships pay dividends in terms of lowering stress, developing feeling of purpose and could even extend our life expectancy.

Giving: A Better Way

In this article, we have shown you why giving can be a great way to boost your mood and beat stress this festive period. So, when the pressure of the season start to get to you, why not trying taking a step back,taking a deep breath and consider how you could make others’ lives better through giving?

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