Ever wonder how Santa keeps his ho-ho-ho all through the holidays? Doesn’t he ever get frustrated with the crowds? Worry about his weight? Wonder how he’ll get it all done and still be charming at the office party? The holidays can certainly be a mix of fabulous memories as well as sadness for times passed, so how do we remain mentally in shape for the myriad of activities synonymous with this time of year? Here are some great ideas -- gleaned from several sources including Dr. Martin Seligman who is often referred to as the father of positive psychology -- on how to remain happier and calmer during this holiday season.
Five Ways to Stay Happy this Holiday Season
1. Pay attention to any negative thoughts and more importantly how you’re interpreting what you’re thinking. If, for instance, you are feeling frustrated, lonely, overwhelmed or caught up in past memories, argue against the negative. We all get to choose how we’re going to interpret our thoughts and it’s been said that arguing against negative thoughts are as effective as taking anti-depressants, and certainly less expensive.
2. Focus on ways to make the holidays brighter for someone else. Helping others is a sure-fire way to feel better and spread the cheer. Organize an office donation, run a coat drive, volunteer at your animal shelter, help with a children’s party at your local hospital. There are so many organizations in need, and just the act of focusing on others can be a great endorphin rush. Years ago I stood at the bottom of the escalator in Grand Central Station in Manhattan at rush hour asking everyone to consider taking one letter from a child to Santa. The transit police only gave me a small amount of time to distribute all the letters but New Yorkers were so kind that all the letters were taken in a matter of minutes, and most people were smiling as they took the letters! It was really great fun.
3. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate. With so much going on in the world it’s easy to focus on the negative and forget how much we have to appreciate. How about creating an Appreciation Chart at work or home, and letting others write in some of the things they are appreciative of. Or have a gift exchange but the “gift” is a list of five things you admire about other colleagues or family members. Remember to tell people why you appreciate them. I lost a dear friend this year to cancer, and as much as I thought I told her how special she was to me, in looking back I wish I could have said it many more times. It’s impossible not to feel better when we remember how much we have and perhaps sometimes take for granted. Years ago when I climbed Kilimanjaro and was speaking to my guide about the rail thin teenage boys we saw, he explained to me they only ate one meal a day. Aren’t we all blessed to have so much?
4. Decide to create some fun. Think of a time and place where you felt great and now hold onto that memory for ten seconds or longer and really feel how you felt back then. In Neuro-linguistic Programming that’s called creating a resource state. Now every day for a week pull up that positive memory and savor it, enjoy it. For extra joy remember to smile. Not only do we look better, we also feel better with a smile on our faces!
5. Give yourself a special gift. So often we work long and hard to find the right gifts for our friends, colleagues, clients and family. But for ourselves we usually feel we’ve spent too much to give to ourselves as well. Put yourself on your gift list, whether it’s a night spent doing something you really enjoy, or treating yourself to something you really deserve. Please don’t wait for others to give you what you want, think of the burden it puts on others to make you feel good. This is something we can and should do for ourselves!
Have a blessed and wonderful holiday. Spread the cheer and make this the holiday that others ask you your secret…why are you so happy all the time?
Looking forward to sharing a great year with all of you. Please look over my programs and classes for the upcoming year (www.magiccomm.com) and let me be part of your success!
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