A Kindness Advent Calendar for More Happiness and Health this Holiday

It’s true that we are actually happier and healthier when we invest in experiences rather than “things”. Studies show that memorable moments give us a sense of purpose and make life more meaningful. The real gifts of the holidays are more about the people we’re with and the memories we make rather than the material objects tucked under the wrapping paper. So that giant mess your kids made baking holiday cookies in the kitchen is actually a good thing!

My girls making a mess and memories in the kitchen. (Yes, they are on the floor!)

As humans, what we really crave is connection. We all want to feel happy and loved. When we experience these types of positive emotions, we strengthen our vagal tone — a nerve that helps us regulate everything from heart rate and blood pressure to digestion of food, and our mood states. We’re less likely to be anxious, overwhelmed, and depressed. We are more likely to spread our happiness everywhere and use that positivity to fuel our own decision making , like going to bed at a reasonable hour, eating our vegetables, and moving our bodies.

This is what I call “spiraling up” your health. Feel-good emotions lead to feel-good choices. They build on one another and open up our hearts and minds, like a broadening funnel, and ultimately contribute to a beautiful life. Isn’t that really the best gift of all?

[credit to positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson who originated the idea of upward spirals with positive emotions and broaden and build theory.]

“Spiral Up” with My Holiday Kindness Advent Calendar

This holiday season is especially meaningful to me. I’m counting down the days to the launch of my first book Body Kindness: Transform your health from the inside out and never say diet again (Workman Publishing, Jan 2017).

Every day through December 27th, the book’s official “birthday,” I’m sharing simple ideas for celebrating all the goodness the holiday season has to offer with inspiring activities for food, fitness and building feel-good emotions.

Join me for this kindness advent and you’ll get a taste for the Body Kindness health and happiness philosophy along the way.

Start by making this “spiral up” jar. Write one positive quote or something you are grateful for on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. At the end of the month you’ll have 31 inspirations you can surprise yourself with everyday for the rest of the year. (Hint — these make great homemade gifts too!)

Give Small, Connect Big

Gifts don’t need to be elaborate, expensive, or come wrapped with a bow to have meaning. The smallest of gestures can deepen our connections by the simple act of kindness.

  • Spending time with others, like hosting a minimalist potluck dinner even though your house is a mess creates upward spirals.
  • Doing something nice for someone you care about creates upward spirals.
  • Donating goods, from canned foods to clothing, or volunteering to make a stranger’s life a little brighter creates upward spirals.

The key factor is that you have to choose what you want to do — not just pick something out of obligation.

May you be inspired, joyful, and uplifted this holiday season and may you welcome 2017 with renewed motivation to create a happier, healthier, and more meaningful life.

Pre-order my book or e-book anywhere books are sold, enter the code: birthday on this registration form and you’ll get invited to a free group coaching call with me in January.