How to be happier in winter
Can we feel happier in winter?
Scientist have found that Happiness is genetic. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book, The How of Happiness suggests that 50 percent of happiness is genetically predetermined. Which means some lucky ones are blessed with happy genes. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us cannot feel any happier and enjoy our life. Though 50 percent of happiness is inherited, Sonja suggests that 10 percent is due to life circumstances, and 40 percent is the result of your own personal outlook. So, the answer is a big YES, Of course we can feel happier even in winter if we are willing to change our mindset.
Do you know where the happiest people live?
If you imagined a tropical getaway with sandy beaches, pristine blue water, warm sunshine and balmy weather, Am sorry, you are WRONG! Research suggest that happiest people on earth live in Scandinavia and Finland. People there experience extremely short, cold and snowy winder days for about three to seven months. Looks like happiness and cold weather actually go hand in hand!
Why did I choose to write about searching happiness in winter?
I live in northern Illinois and we just had polar vortex visit us. We were blessed enough (ahem) to experience sub zero temperatures (-22F with additional wind chill) for almost 2 days. The weather of penguins and polar bears did bring us two days holiday. Schools and offices were closed due to the inclement weather. Hey, I’m definitely thankful for the mid week break 🙂
I recently saw a quote in social media which caught my eye. I showed it to my husband and he promptly disagreed. Do you agree with this? What are your thoughts?
“Paradise isn’t always tropical”
I was in awe to see snow for the first time in my life when I moved to US from a coastal town in South Asia. My love for snow has not faded in the past 10 yrs of living in this place. Driving is difficult but hey, snow tires do help, at least to some extent. Bundling up kids to get around the town is a pain, but it is totally worth than spending time indoors and getting caught in the cabin fever. A brutal winter helps us enjoy the summer more and likewise scorching summer makes us yearn for cooler weather. That being said, I’m grateful to live a in place to see all four seasons of the year!
Here are a few tips to make your life in Winter less dreadly.
- Get Outdoors:
Dress up in layers. Invest in quality winter gears like jacket, boots, scarf, hat and gloves. I have been going out for walk every single day (except on polar vortex) and I feel more immune to common cold. I feel refreshed and focused even on a gray cold day. Venture out and see it for yourself!
- Let it be:
Instead of counting days until summer and dreaming about the warm weather, Acknowledge that this cycle of the season is preparing us for a bright summer. Mindfully enjoy the snow showers, take a moment to notice how your body feels against the jacket, the tickle as you wear the hat, notice how you move on the icy paths with your boots on. Mindfully watch your neighborhood covered in snow like a little kid.
- Eat seasonal food:
Many areas have indoor farmers market that sell seasonal local food. Check that out.
- Try winter activities:
Enroll your kids and yourself in fun and inexpensive winter activities organized by your community. Sign up for anything that makes you get fresh air outdoors.
- Try Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).
I love the book – The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. It has amazing ideas about how to get cozy in Winter. Get hyggeligt with candles, cozy blankets and comfort food (Note: Bigger portion size does not mean more hyygelit).
- Shorter days are to relax, cuddle and SLOW DOWN.
Everyone says summer is the time to slow down, but I disagree. Summer is a time for kids and teachers (bless their heart for the hard work they do) to relax and enjoy their vacation. But for the rest of us I do not see any difference. In fact as working mother of 3 kids, Summer is very hectic. We have to plan for summer activities by Feb/Mar. No kidding! When kids are in different camps due to the age difference or interest, things get more complicated. Honestly, I keep looking forward for the school to reopen waiting to see things fall in a routine after the summer break!
Do you know that Punxsutawney Phil, weather forecasting animal has predicted that we’re in for an early spring? Hang on my friend, longer days will be here soon. Until then, turn on the fire place, cuddle up under a cozy blanket, read a good book, sip hot coca and enjoy the season!