Creating Happiness During the Holidays - Tips 4 to 6

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Happiness and gratitude go hand in hand. That’s why I start every day giving thanks for 3 to 5 people or things that I appreciate in my life. This immediately puts me into a positive state of mind and sets the tone for creating a beautiful day.

A happy life requires that we become aware of our thoughts and that we condition our subconscious minds with positive thinking. After all, positive thoughts create a positive life, just as negative thoughts create a negative life. The practice of gratitude conditions our minds to be positive, even when our lives are turned upside down by external circumstances.

A soulful moment of gratitude with    Aileen Day    - Photography by Paul Garrett

A soulful moment of gratitude with Aileen Day - Photography by Paul Garrett

When you practice gratitude, do not leave yourself out. Give thanks for your life, for your health and for everything that helps you grow and evolve. Our minds play a key role in what we manifest into our lives. This includes how our thoughts impact the health of our bodies. Negative thinking and unresolved emotional trauma can make us sick. Take time in life to process your emotions and give thanks for your body. Through positive thinking you can heal both physically and emotionally. Every day I give thanks for my body and for my health. As a result I am rarely ill and when I get a cold I get over it quickly. Health is wealth, and good health and happiness go hand in hand in creating an upward spiral in our lives. If you don’t already practice gratitude, start tomorrow morning giving thanks for 5 people or things that you are grateful for. Better yet, start a gratitude journal and write them down. There is power in putting pen to paper and declaring what you are grateful for. Do this every day for the rest of this year and you will be amazed by how much happier you feel.

NATURE MAKES US HAPPY

One of the best ways to increase your happiness is to get outdoors and do an activity that you love! Whether it’s walking, hiking, running, biking, snowboarding, swimming or reading a book on a beach. Being in nature reduces stress and lifts our spirits.

May nature inspire you with its magnificence! Hiking at Colchuck Lake - Photography by Paul Garrett

May nature inspire you with its magnificence! Hiking at Colchuck Lake - Photography by Paul Garrett

We tend to be less energetic in the winter and this makes us feel less happy. A big reason why is that we spend way too much time indoors being inactive. This slows down our metabolism and also makes us crave comfort foods. No wonder we put on weight in the winter! We also become deficient of vitamin D, which makes us vulnerable to catching colds and the flu. Vitamin D also gives us an energy boost, which makes us feel great! The best way to get vitamin D is by sun exposure on your skin. This will be the topic of an upcoming blog that I am writing.

I used to dislike being out in cold wet weather, but with the amazing advances in outdoor clothing that are available today this is no longer a problem. Last year I picked up a pair of waterproof snow pants by Patigonia, which were on sale at REI. They have been awesome at keeping me comfortable even in knee deep snow. I also wear base layers on top that wick away sweat, starting with a running shirt from Nike and a long sleeve second layer. In addition, I keep a puffer jacket by The North Face in my backpack to wear under my waterproof parka shell if I need extra warmth. And don’t forget good footwear. I love my waterproof hiking boots by Keen. They not only keep me dry and warm, they also protect my feet from sharp rocks and give great ankle support! This sounds expensive, but it’s not if you shop sales or purchase these items from factory outlet stores. I usually get half off on most of my outdoor clothing.

Being comfortable makes it possible for me to spend lots of time outside doing what makes me happy! Invest in good gear and enjoy the great outdoors. It will lift your spirits and make you feel happy.

ANIMALS MAKE US HAPPY

I don’t care if you are a cat or a dog person, you know what I am talking about. And of course the unconditional love that our pets pour upon us is priceless! Animals give us so much love and a wonderful feeling companionship. No wonder they make us happy!!

You can’t help but smile when you see a joyful dog in Nature - Photography by paul Garrett

You can’t help but smile when you see a joyful dog in Nature - Photography by paul Garrett

And let’s not forget about wild animals. They make us happy, too!! I have been to Africa three times and it always amazing to watch people in their seventies and in their eighties become little kids in the presence of magnificent animals such as elephants, lions and giraffes. They smile so big, their eyes light up and even their voices become childlike in their excitement and delight. I see this too with people of all ages when I visit Yellowstone National Park. If you’ve ever been in bear, a wolf or even the bison caused a traffic jam, you know exactly what I am talking about. I bet that you can also relate to this excitement if you have ever seen dolphins or whales in the ocean. The reality is that we are drawn to animals in many ways, including the spiritual connections that many of us feel when we are in their presence.

Photographing this Lion was one of my favorite Moments at Etosha National Park in Namibia - Photography by Paul Garrett

Photographing this Lion was one of my favorite Moments at Etosha National Park in Namibia - Photography by Paul Garrett

This holiday season give thanks, get outdoors and spend some quality time with animals. Also consider donating time, money or supplies to organizations that look after the welfare of animals. My favorite non profit organization is Predator Defense (predatordefense.org). This small group of exceptionally dedicated animal lovers is not afraid to take on the government or even fellow non profits when it comes to defending the welfare of wolves, bears, mountain lions and other predators in the USA. Giving to a noble cause can also be a source of happiness.

Wishing you a happy weekend and an inspiring new week!

With love,

Paul Garrett

P.S. - Thanks so much for supporting this blog! I promise to have Part 3 of this series ready for you on Tuesday. The past two weeks were unusually busy while I was on location doing back to back photo shoots in Seattle and then moving into my new place.


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