GIVE YOURSELF A GIFT
Want to give yourself a holiday gift that will last the rest of your life? Try giving yourself the gift of happiness. Research shows that happiness and satisfaction depend more on the inner person than on external circumstances. The secret to living a happy life is to get in charge of your life and what you are doing. Then you can build the life you want. As children, we are strongly influenced by the opinions of others, and what you learn in early childhood can run your life until you understand it and take control of your own ideas and decisions.
What is it that you have always wanted to do? Have you been telling yourself you can’t, or that you don’t deserve it? What would happen if you decided to give yourself what you’ve always wanted? Look at your own life and your decisions from a different and valuable perspective. The decisions you make today affect the rest of your life, and you are ultimately the only person to whom you are accountable and for whom you are responsible. Every new decision is truly a new life's resolution.
According to recent brain studies, the brain chemical oxytocin is released when there's positive contact with others (or even with oneself) and serotonin, which has a more physical connection. So, to increase your happiness, serotonin levels can be raised by physical activity (try ballroom dancing, yoga, belly dancing, swinging on a swing), or meditation (in an aromatherapy bath, with scented candles or oils, sitting in a lovely outdoor setting, or with special music) You can also raise oxytocin levels with comforting touch (a massage, a cuddle session with pets, kids, spouse or even just wrapping up in a snug, furry blanket, or rubbing your skin with silk or scented lotion) and loving interaction (a warm exchange with a close friend, family member or child, writing a love letter, working together on a family project, snuggling while watching video or laughing together) Research conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish and others shows that the happiest and healthiest people are those who are well connected to friends and family.
“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved”, wrote Victor Hugo. He knew there are more kinds of love than romance and marriage. No matter what is happening in your romantic life, the solid presence of good friends and family can lift your spirits, fill your days, and give you the support you need for your romantic relationship.
Not only does it take a “village” (community) to raise a child, but in our mobile and fast paced society, a sense of community, family and connectedness helps us to function more effectively as adults in all phases of life. Current research shows that people who have a healthy family and social life are happier and more long lived. By creating family feelings in several areas of your life, you'll have the joy of the give and take of friendship, anytime you want. As you look back on your life, you are likely to feel best about the good things you did for others and the positive contributions you have made to your friends and family. Perhaps life will present you with an opportunity to give back to friends. Being there in times of need, helping out in times of illness or bereavement, or just being a sympathetic listener when a friend is stressed can be more valuable to them than you imagine. You'll create blessings for yourself when you share your rituals, holidays, laughter and information. Welcome friends who are alone into your family's good times. Give yourself the gift of laughter, fun and happiness.
I wish you all the holiday joys you can dream of.
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. “Dr. Romance,” is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction (New Page); How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free (New Page); The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again (Wiley) and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve Step Programs (New Page.) Her newest books are Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage and Commuter Marriage. She publishes “Happiness Tips from Tina”, an email newsletter, and the “Dr. Romance Blog” and has hosted “The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious”, a weekly hour long radio show. Online, she is “Dr. Romance” with columns at ThirdAge.com, Divorce360.com, Healthapalooza.com, and Yahoo!Personals, as well as a Redbook Love Network expert. Dr. Tessina guests frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC news. Follow her on www.twitter.com/tinatessina, and www.facebook.com/tinatessina
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