“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
~ Jim Rohn
If you feel far from experiencing joy during the holiday season, you’re not alone.
We’re often advised to celebrate in traditional ways, but not everyone feels as jolly as Santa, as popular as an elf or as rich as Daddy Warbucks.
Despite the various ways life can dim our sparkle, we can still find ways to lift our spirits and place ourselves on more positive terrain. We can choose to make the holidays better by changing — or exchanging — old habits, beliefs and traditions with new ones that prove more beneficial.
Here are a few suggestions to help uplift your mental, social and emotional landscape over the holidays. As one who has employed these techniques for a good portion of life, I not only explain them in simple fashion below but provide some additional resources, too.
While extending forgiveness feels like one of the most difficult decisions we can make in life, it is also one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.
As we give up gnawing offenses and allow old grudges to fall away, we naturally feel lighter and less burdened. Surprisingly, the idea of forgiving someone else actually lifts our own spirit. It makes us the ultimate beneficiary of previously perceived wrongs.
Here’s a video on the topic entitled, Getting Happier in the New Year
We generally see matters out of a single lens or a one-sided perspective. But when that lens reflects sorrow, loss or even victimhood, it’s time to open our eyes to the “other side” of the story.
In the same way the pessimist sees a glass half empty but, when refocused, understands that it is also half full, we can open our eyes to brighter reflections. Focusing on the other side of perception allows us to see what we do have in life rather than what we don’t. By keeping our thoughts attuned to the positive, we create feelings of strength, warmth, security and more.
Focusing on perception, a video entitled, Trash or Treasure?
If being around the same people is making you feel sad, anxious or upset and if staring at the same four walls is boring you to tears, create an active change.
Get up, change rooms or step outside your door for a breath of fresh air. Doing simple things like moving a piece of furniture, changing your regular TV station for another, or soaking in a tub of fragrant bath crystals can help create fresh, new feelings and open you to anticipating new possibilities.
Knowing you can develop new spaces proves as much a liberating experience as it does a happy one.
Whenever we experience times of challenge — sickness, loss of a loved one, getting firing from a job, etc. — we can get lost in the heaviness of the moment. It is easy to feel our present circumstances are permanent and fall into depression and despondency.
However, reminding yourself that there’s a greater life picture at work can lift some of the present weight of despair. Sometimes, it’s our most difficult experiences that bring out the best in us. Though we might not have planned our challenges, they often result in gain.
Things like creativity, stamina, wisdom, grace and personal growth are often released through trials. Knowing that good things are happening (even if we are still experiencing tough times) can make us feel empowered, uplifted and inspired for the future.
Here’s a blog about more to the picture entitled, The Flip Side of Giving Thanks.
Want to get “un-stuck” from the doldrums or get your mind off your own problems? Focus on serving others.
Whether it’s baking pies for neighbors, volunteering in a soup kitchen, visiting a nursing home or offering some respite to a single mom, extending your mind and energy toward helping others proves a natural uplift.
As we set out to think of others, especially those not in a position to reciprocate, we feel empowered, enlivened and more hopeful about our own lives and personal situations.
For more on serving others, watch What Do You Do for Love?
This season, may you focus on happiness and share increased joy everywhere you go!
Don’t forget to check out my latest holiday podcast filled with peace and good cheer by clicking here or on the podcast icon below:
Maura Sweeney is an International Speaker on Influence, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence