3 Secrets for Putting the “Happy” Back into Your Holidays

Are the holidays truly happy for you this year? For most, they are not…but with our 3 simple secrets, you can put the happy back into your holidays and in your life!

Are you truly happy during the holiday season?

For most, the answer would be no…. The thing is, while the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, peace and merrymaking, for too many of us, they are stressful and full of pressure. Take a moment to ask yourself, are you just trying to “get through” the holidays, so things can get back to normal?

Are you dreading a visit from the in-laws? Worried about making your flight on time? Or maybe you’re simply all partied out?

Well, there’s good news! You can turn the tide today with these 3 simple secrets to bring the happy back into your holiday season:

  1. Shift your expectations. The root cause of most holiday stress is overly high expectations. Think about it…we set the bar really high when it comes to the holidays. Everything from holiday decorations to cultural traditions need to be just right. You can’t forget anyone on your Christmas card list, even if they moved last week and you don’t have their new address. And heaven forbid you don’t make the most delicious desserts from scratch. On top of that, your mother-in-law is coming to visit and she has her own ideas about how clean your house should be.Living up to your own holiday expectations (what it should be like) can be bad enough, but during this time of year, you have the added burden of other people’s expectations. And all of them are unusually high.

    Here’s the secret: lower your expectations and forget about the expectations of others. Instead of focusing on being the “perfect person” and having the “perfect holiday celebration,” how about focusing on keeping it simple? Ask yourself what you can do to simplify your holiday routine. If that means declining an invitation, purchasing a dessert instead of baking, enlisting the help of your kids to tidy up or reducing the activities on your agenda, go for it!

    In fact, create your own vision of your ideal holiday celebration. What would make you truly feel the joy of the season? Write that down and start your own holiday tradition. Your whole family will likely feel the relief of a simpler schedule and they will certainly benefit from your better mood!

  2. Focus on the present. Most of the time, we focus on getting gifts for everyone on our list. And these days, it the competition for the latest kids toys can be stressful enough without also having to find the perfect gift for your hard-to-shop for father. Instead of focusing on the presents, how about focusing on the present…this moment. Most of the time, our focus is on reliving the past or worrying about the future. How often are you truly in this moment? How often are you truly focused on what your kids are saying to you right now? On taking time to just notice your family…time to just breathe and be?Here’s the secret: As often as you can throughout the day, be in this moment. If you catch yourself wondering if your father really liked what you got him or worrying whether you planned the right dinner, stop and say, “thoughts.” Let those thoughts go, take a deep breath and focus on what is happening right now, in this moment. You may find that you have a whole new sense of how time passes. Instead of life passing you by while your mind is somewhere else, you will be able to sink into the joy of simply being where you are right now.
  3. Express gratitude for what is. As the pressure for the perfect holiday builds, we often start focusing on what we don’t have, instead of what we do have. When you focus on what you don’t have, negativity sets in and let’s face it, you start to feel bad. You deserve to feel good and chances are, you have a lot to feel good about.Here’s the secret: Choose 3 things each day that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s your family, a warm home and your health. Maybe it’s the beautiful view from your bedroom window, a child’s laugh or the unconditional love of a pet. Write down the 3 things you are grateful for each day – or better yet – several times per day. This practice immediately changes your focus from the negative (what you don’t have) to the positive (what you do have) and better yet, the feeling of gratitude is one of the most healing of all.

So no matter where you are in your cycle of holiday celebrations, take time out to focus on one or all of these secretes. You deserve to be happy this holiday season and all holidays to come!

Happiness is not all in your head…in fact, what’s happening in your body supports a happy brain too. To learn how your body supports your mind in creating happiness, read:

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