‘Tis the season for loads of fun and good cheer, right? So why do many of us feel very stressed and drained – both physically and financially – at the end of the year? Despite the holiday season hustle and bustle that may result in an increased waistline, unwanted stress, and credit card debt, there are ways to remedy the discomfort, pain, and strain. If you want to have a joyful holiday season and happy new year, you have to find resourceful ways to plow through the winter months ahead successfully.
Here are four life-changing ways to get through the holiday season with less stress and more joy, so you enjoy the celebration, even more, this year.
1. Notice what you Notice (about your circumstance or experience) and Be Grateful for what You Have.
Noticing is key. If we don’t notice what’s happening, then we cannot choose how to react and respond. The holidays are an excellent time to practice having an empowered attitude about what really matters.
Instead of living in a “poor me” state, be aware of your thoughts (remember your thoughts are not you; they’re just fragments of memories and projections of future events), acknowledge your emotions, and move on to reframe the negative attitude by practicing gratitude.
2. Release Thinking there’s Not Enough to go around and Start Thinking, “How can I Have more?”
To activate the motivation neural circuit in your brain, you must relinquish your scarcity/fixed mindset. Yes, of course, you should still stick to a holiday budget to avoid a bunch of credit card debt in the new year, but you should also devise a plan for what you can do to increase your abundance.
Once the motivation part of your brain turns on, you increase your desire to do more. So instead of being a victim of your circumstances, you’ll start taking charge and direct action to create the changes necessary to achieve your holiday dreams and 2018 goals.
Why not sell a few items you’ll never miss on eBay to pay for your kid’s Santa experience or instead of trying to figure out what to buy your mother-in-law this year, take up knitting and make her a scarf.
3. Make Decisions Based on your Core Values.
After you mentally rehearse how you want things to go down this holiday season, you can increase your chances of success for having it all by making your decisions based on what you value most.
Make a list of your top five values. And then ask yourself once or twice a day, “Are the choices I’m making honoring my values?”
4. Smile! It Could Make You Happier
The natural response to happiness is smiling. And according to science, the opposite is also true: smiling can create happiness. So even if you’re not feeling cheerful, wearing a smile tricks your brain into believing you’re happy.
Psychologists, Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman, experimented to find the link between stress and smiling. And they discovered that when people smiled while doing mundane tasks, they had lower heart rates and stress levels than those who wore a neutral expression. This effect was especially pronounced for participants who produced a big ear-to-ear smile, known as a Duchenne smile.
Think of a time when you were feeling down, and then a random person smiled at you. Did it brighten up your day? If each of us committed to making five people a day smile from ear to ear, it would dramatically impact the holiday stress that many people experience. It’s a small thing that doesn’t cost you anything, but it can make a huge difference. And imagine the snowball effect that this single act could have on the collective consciousness!
During the holiday season this year, why not set a small goal for yourself to smile at the people you encounter. The more you smile, the happier your mood will be, and when you smile at others, they’re likely to perceive you as a nice person. Not only that, according to the research, you’re more likely to be remembered if someone meets you with a smile on your face!