Joy for the whole year

Holiday cheer should not leave with the holidays


Positivity has a number of benefits for health and mental well-being. All statistics from the Mayo Clinic.

One of the best known Christmas carols e is “Joy to the World”, an upbeat song with a clear message of happiness and cheer. In the midst of the holiday season, it suits the atmosphere. What about when the holiday season ends? Where does our cheer go, and why are we so quick to let it go?

The reason for this change of heart is not in the outside world, but human nature. Regardless of the time of year, the world is full of things to be happy about, from fascinating new science discoveries to improving global conditions. These things just seem to slip from memory with all the negative things we focus on.

It is natural to focus on the negative, especially when it is all that gets talked about. Most news focuses on the negative because, like it or not, sadness holds attention. Positive parts of the world tend to be more mundane. When you think about it, the normalcy of positivity is beautiful, as good things are such a big part of our life that we do not notice them anymore. However, this does seem to make happy thoughts disappear when there is not a holiday to make the idea of cheer a bit more interesting.

Even if we refuse to pay attention to them, the world is full of great news. Global poverty rates are down 36 percent since 1990, according to the World Bank. Psychology Today reports that homicide rates, deaths in war and deaths in car accidents have all been declining. Meanwhile, scientific research is at an all time high, and LiveScience’s website lists hundred of recent scientific breakthroughs, with sometimes as many as six articles being published in one day, each one detailing a new mystery science has solved. From mapping the ice of Antarctica to uncovering fossils with clues to stone age mysteries, scientists are learning new and amazing things every day.

There are certainly things to be upset about, and anger and sadness are absolutely valid, but it is important to keep the lighter parts of life in mind when dealing with the nastier parts. Not to mention, the Mayo Clinic reports that  those who are more positive in their day to day life display better coping skills during times of hardship. If you keep smiling when things are good, you will have an easier time of keeping your head up when they become bleak.

Not only will holding on to the happiness of the holidays keep you in a good mood, it will be good for your health, both mental and physical. Whether helping to prevent depression and distress or staving off cardiovascular disease or the common cold, positivity can rescue people from all sorts of ailments, making life altogether more enjoyable.

Right now, with the catchy tunes, presents and time off school, being positive feels simple, natural and almost necessary. If we adjust our view on the world, every day can feel like the holidays.