Rejoice, Recreate, and Rejuvenate: Tips for Success in 2022
The field of psychology has advanced in so many ways to help us focus on happiness, well-being, positivity, and joy. As we attempt to recover from two years of intense stress related to covid, masking, social isolation, and remote online participation, we must seek strategies to boost our spirits and mental health.
An important question is: What is happiness, and is it important to be happy? Although a range of sociocultural, spiritual, and religious definitions of happiness exist, I would like to turn to the rapidly growing field of positive psychology for some answers.
Seligman and late Peterson (2003) proposed extensive theories that promote optimism and positive mental health outcomes based on our individual choices. Research shows that if we focus on certain variables in our daily lives, we have control to significantly enhance our mood, optimism, meaning, and happiness.
So what are some tools that we can utilize over the holidays to rejoice, recreate, and rejuvenate for the new year? Here are some simple strategies:
- Engage and relate to other people.
- Find fulfillment in creativity and productivity.
- Look beyond oneself and help others find lasting meaning, satisfaction, and wisdom.
- Practice daily mindfulness and gratitude.
- Exercise – even if it is 20 minutes three to five times a week.
- Bring to your awareness and practice healthier, cleaner nutrition.
- Immerse yourself in nature.
- Unplug from electronics.
- Create fun and joyful moments with your children and family.
- Ask yourself, “what do I enjoy?” and engage in it weekly.
- If you have a passion, immerse yourself in it.
- Give to others.
- Generate internal positivity by seeking and affirming the good in your life.
Ongoing research demonstrates that practicing the above can enhance mood, positive emotions, mental health, life satisfaction, and motivation in adults, teenagers, and children.1
Many of us have lost two years of practicing key skills that foster confidence and self-esteem, including in-person fun, positive social interactions, physical activities, teamwork, and creativity. These are the building blocks that help us thrive in multiple domains of adaptive life functioning, no matter how old we are. The more we can infuse our daily lives with these key ingredients, the faster we will help ourselves catch up socially and emotionally so that we can flourish once more.
Although we may not be able to change our environment or those around us, we can heal and empower ourselves by bringing back hope and joy into our lives as we embrace the new year and begin to thrive.
Rebecca Alexander, Oriana R. Aragón, Jamila Bookwala, Nicolas Cherbuin, Justine M. Gatt, Ian J. Kahrilas, Niklas Kästner, Alistair Lawrence, Leroy Lowe, Robert G. Morrison, Sven C. Mueller, Robin Nusslock, Christos Papadelis, Kelly L. Polnaszek, S. Helene Richter, Rebecca L. Silton, Charis Styliadis. (2020). The neuroscience of positive emotions and affect: Implications for cultivating happiness and wellbeing. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Volume 121, 2021. Pages 220-249. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763420306801
Seligman and Peterson (2003). Positive clinical psychology. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2003-04757-021