Finding more happiness at Christmas

And at every other time of year

Happiness at Christmas

So, the pressure is on, the Christmas preparations are in their final frenetic stage.

Everyone (who’s going to) has, by now, offered you their hopes that you have a ‘good one’ . . .

. . . and you know that, early in the new year, you’ll be asked to confirm that it was indeed a ‘good one’.

The question is, how to make it a ‘good one’ or, at least, less stressful and a little happier than it might ‘normally’ be?

Well, apart from the obvious top tips for sharing the workload around food preparation and clearing up . . .

. . . and, of course, going easy on the alcohol – especially before dinner . . .

. . . I think there is one simple thing that we can all do.

We can expect less

Yes, that’s it.

Sorry if you were expecting more 😉

That’s, almost, all I have to say.

  1. Let’s stop expecting this one day to be perfect.
  2. Let’s stop expecting that everyone will be perfectly behaved and
  3. Let’s stop expecting to receive the ‘perfect’ Christmas present(s) – or the perfect reaction to what we give others 🙂

With all that activity going on – there’s just too much risk of disappointment.

And that, according to the science, is where unhappiness comes from.

It lives in the gap between our expectations and reality.

That much we know from the 10 years of research of Manel Baucells and Rakesh Sarin – as outlined in their book, ‘Engineering happiness’ which you can find listed – amongst some of my other favourite books right here.

By the way, the authors of that book are an engineer and a decision theorist, so it’s no surprise to see that they boil happiness down to the simplest of equations.

Happiness = reality minus expectation

I love it.

So, at what time of year are many people’s expectations at their peaks?

Yes, right about now.

And whilst this might sound obvious – especially now that we know the answer 😊 – I still think it’s a wonderful Insight for this time of year.

Of course, we should keep working at the things we want to get right for Christmas.

I’m not suggesting we give up.

But let’s just lower our expectations a little bit – whether it’s about how others might behave or the whole event.

You might find it turns out to be one of the happiest you’ve ever had.

I certainly hope so

All the best


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