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The joy of giving is the secret to happiness

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    In the haste and hustle of the holidays, it’s wise to remember that generosity creates happiness for those who give.

Why does the season of giving sometimes feel like a massive and frenzied deadline to make sure we give the right gift to the right person, fulfill our obligations, all while enjoying the season and making sure we didn’t miss someone we really want to appreciate?

For many, it feels like a race to the end of year in which Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and countless other opportunities beckon us to buy a bit of happiness for others so that 2017 can feel complete.

Take a small step back

The greatest gift we can give ourselves in this race is to take a small step back. Saint Francis of Assisi said that it is in giving that we receive.

Winston Churchill asserted that we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.

In the haste and hustle of the holidays, it’s wise to remember that generosity creates happiness for those who give.

Here are a few ways to look back on this year and to look forward with more joy.

>> Inventory your year of generosity. What did you give this year to others? Remind yourself of your year-round generosity.

What have you done for others that was selfless and without expectation of anything in return? Perhaps there was a random act of kindness to a stranger or a compassionate ear you lent someone. Or perhaps you withheld anger or judgment in a situation. Were generous with praise and support?

Becoming aware of ways you have helped others and honoring yourself is one way to feel good about closing down the year. Rather than looking at what you didn’t do, look at what you did do.

>> Give the gift of time. Quality time is often the greatest gift we can give one another. It’s that time when the television is off and smart phones are tucked away during a conversation.

It’s the time we spend picking up the phone and calling or visiting a loved one to simply say “I’m thinking about you.”

So count time amongst your gifts to others as well, and decide how you’d like to give of your time and energy in 2018.

>> Pose a powerful question. Dare to ask, “How can I best help you this coming year?” And really listen to the answer. To connect with those you love on the most powerful level possible, this question may be a key.

Most of all, remember that in order to give to others you must give to yourself first. In this sense, we are all like a glass of water: We can’t overflow unless we are full.

So create opportunities to perhaps do less and to give yourself a little more of whatever you need most to be happy.

Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit

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