1 - TURN OFF THE NEWS
There is a saying in the news biz, “If it bleeds, it reads.” The news industry is all about making money by peddling bad news to up their ratings. The news primes our brains to feel unsafe by hyping wars, riots, shootings, natural disasters, ugly politics and the list goes on and on. All of these negative Images and messages take a toll upon our feelings of well being and are downright depressing. Watch enough of the news and you are going to feel down. I turned off the news two years ago and I have never felt better. Remember that most news is toxic, so don’t drink the punch! The media also exaggerates our illusion of separateness. It points out our differences such as red states vs blue states, black vs white, rich vs poor, Muslim vs Christian… This is what is known as identity politics and it is designed to pit us against one another. This too preys upon our fears, causing us to have a stress response, so turn off the news during the holidays to preserve your happiness.
2 - HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE
You’ve probably heard that happiness is a choice and it is true, but it doesn’t feel that way when we are depressed or suffering a great loss. During a difficult times I practice AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE and FORGIVENESS to help me process my emotions and return to a state of happiness.
When we’ve been betrayed or lost a loved one, we may experience anger, fear, shame embarrassment, frustration and deep emotional pain. Through AWARENESS we can come to understand what went wrong and why, keeping in mind that this pain will pass more quickly if we allow ourselves to move through the 5 stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ACCEPTANCE.
By holding onto the past, we cause ourselves to suffer longer. And by stuffing our feelings down, we can actually make ourselves sick. To let go of negative energy it may help to talk about our pain with loving people who care about us. This is an excellent way to also feel understood, to process our emotions and let go of them. When the are AWARE of our feelings and accept what is, we can move forward choosing to create a life of happiness and abundance.
Finally, we must practice FORGIVENESS. This is how we free ourselves from those who have hurt us and make room for better things to come into our lives. As Oprah Winfrey says, “I don’t hold grudges for anything or any situation and neither should you. Forgiveness is letting go so that the past does not hold you prisoner.”
One of my favorite mantras is, “life is too short.” It’s too short to hold grudges, too short to stay in pain and too short to remain chained to a past that no longer serves us. Through awareness, acceptance and forgiveness I have moved through many unhappy events, including my recent breakup. And by choosing to be happy and grateful, my life has become abundantly joyful. I still have bad days because they are a part of life, but I mindfully choose to move through them quickly so that they rarely phase me anymore. Remember that there are no mountains that are too high for us to climb as long as we have the right mindset and the tools to get us there. We were born to be happy so brace every day with a smile.
3 - BE MINDFUL OF FAMILY DRAMAS
Do you ever dread getting together with your family or your relatives for the holidays? Family gatherings should be JOYFUL this time of year and yet so many of us have a stress response to the old dramas that arise with our relatives. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. We have the power to stop dramas by shifting our response to them. In order to keep old dramas alive we have to be willing participants. When we no longer allow ourselves to get sucked in by the snide comments, put downs and jabs that may come our way, the drama goes away.
When I was growing up with my sister and my brother, we had a habit of competing with each other for our parent’s attention. This manifested as teasing and pushing each other’s buttons. Once I became aware of how these old dramas worked, I quit responding to them as a young adult. As a result these old behavioral patterns lost their power over me and our relationships changed. Today my siblings and I have a great time together! Even if old dramas are brought up we can collectively laugh at them.
If you are dreading seeing people who dim your vibe this holiday season, practice awareness over the old dramas that tend to arise during these occasions. You have the freedom to no longer participate in them, and once you make this decision, everything changes. Another important lesson that I have learned is that “we teach people how to treat us.” This is also a great tool to use durning the holidays. It’s important to be true to yourself. If someone is disrespectful, calmly let them know that you no longer want to be treated that way. It may take time before they change their behavior, but you will feel much better having shared your truth and in doing so you will feel empowered and your holidays will be more harmonious and happy!
I will continue this series on my next blog. Remember in the meantime to always practice compassion and kindness. If your feelings are hurt or your ego is triggered by another person, pause and respond calmly from a place of empathy. People who feel bad about themselves tend to project anger or criticism upon other people rather than dealing with it themselves. As we become more aware of this dynamic we can be less reactive and not become party to old dramas. Stay pleasant and enjoy this beautiful season. After all it is about family and love. Wishing you a wonderful week!
Please click on the heart icon below if you enjoyed this blog. I look forward to bringing you the next three tips for creating happiness during the holidays this coming Saturday.
Awaken • Inspire • Empower
New Posts Every Tuesday and Saturday