'Tis the season of giving
At this time of year, we tend to give extra time and energy to work, family, friends, and the community. But while it's a great opportunity to connect with those you are thankful to have in your life, our December activities can also increase our stress levels.
We know stress isn't good for our body and mind, so how can we better cope with holiday stressors?
Research suggests that increasing your gratitude is key to feeling happier, helping you to make more positive choices, take care of yourself and feel empowered to embrace end of year challenges.
Kristin Francis MD, a psychiatrist at Huntsman Mental Health Institute says, "Expressing gratitude can positively change your brain. It boosts dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters in the brain that improve your mood immediately, giving you those positive feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well-being.”
One way to start incorporating gratitude into your life is through journalling. Spending just 5-10 minutes, 3 times a week writing down what you're grateful for and why, can help you to disconnect from negative thoughts and feelings and shift your focus to more positive emotions.