How to be Happier Through the Holidays (And beyond)

Happy couple giving Christmas gift

How happy would you say you are currently? 

And then thinking about the holidays ahead, black Friday ads, family time, expectations…does it go up or down?

Despite what we will hear incessantly for the next 2 months, things don’t really make us happy. Not a bigger house, more cooperative spouse, or your boss less of a louse (channeling Dr. Seuss!)

What really makes us happy

What actually makes us happy, according to an 80-year study on emotional well being, is the quality of our relationships. Dr. Robert Waldinger, the current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, said “One message came through loud and clear: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”  ( 

One of the ways to improve our marriage is letting our spouse know what we appreciate about them. We can become so comfortable in our life together, that we can take for granted the things that make them special to us. 

Gratitude for your spouse

I’ve noted before the importance of letting our spouse know that we appreciate them (Happy Marriages Have This in Common). So before we get lost in the bustle of holiday preparations, could we take a time-out to set an intention, and focus on actions that will bring REAL and lasting happiness? 

  1. Do you know your partner’s love language? Sometimes we offer something, but miss the mark if we don’t know what fills our partner. We might be giving what WE want to receive, instead of what will be affirming to THEM.
  2. Brainstorm a list of ideas to show/tell appreciation to your spouse—just grab a piece of paper or make a note on your smartphone—and do ONE today.
  3. Ask your spouse to join you. Asking for what we need is not a bad thing. It creates honest, open communication. We can’t expect our partner, no matter how much they love us, to read our minds.
  4. As a bonus, while making your list of ideas, rate your current relationship satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 (10=could not be happier). Let’s do our own experiment, and see how the rating may change after 2 months of regularly affirming each other. You with me?

Happiness experiment

We have about 8 weeks before the end of the year (sorry all you early Christmas gift shoppers. Don’t mean to freak you out!) 

Will you join me over the next 8 weeks in this simple happiness experiment? You can follow on Instagram (kathy_rushing), twitter (@KathyWRushing) or my Facebook page ( where I will provide weekly prompts to remind us along the way.

And if you’ve read this far, know that I am grateful for YOU. I hope you have a delightful, delicious Thanksgiving.

Please note: In the spirit of developing a respectful community, I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, snarky or disrespectful. If you wouldn't say it to your mama, don't say it here.