How To Have A Joyful, Not Depressing, Holiday Season!

The holidays are here. They are the most emotional times of the year for most people. How are they going so far for you? How about the rest of the year? Are you feeling joyful or is your spirit lagging and struggling with feelings of depression?

Those of you who read my articles on a regular basis know that I am a strong believer in neuroplasticity, meaning that a person is capable of changing how the brain functions. Emotions are situated in the limbic area of the right brain. By using the left brain thinking and consequent behaviors you can change your mood.

So let’s get going and do our best to have a joyful Christmas. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Set up realistic expectations. Holiday songs, glossy Christmas cards, media advertising, etc… send over the top images of individuals and families joyfully experiencing loving, blissful, connecting experiences. And surely, there are some folks who are able to have that. Most mortals however have some detracting factors that limit this full expression. Thus, it is wise for you to be realistic in what you might experience this year. And, realism can be good! Looking at positive opportunities and making them come to fruition is possible if the effort is made. What could make for the best holiday possible for you? Make it happen!
  2. Don’t try to do too much. Many people exhaust and frustrate themselves by having a too big  “to do” list. They may travel too far to see too many people. They may need to have the perfect Christmas decorations. They may need to buy too many presents for too many people. They may have to do too much cooking. The excessive efforts are depleting and depressing. Make some hard decisions, establish better boundaries, and simplify your holiday agenda. Remember, “less is more”!
  3. Don’t play the compare game. Oftentimes people throw a “pity party” for themselves because their holiday, their family, their life experience, isn’t as good as some other person or family. For one thing what appears on the outside may not be the reality inside. Some people may look very fortunate but in reality may be hurting in ways that are not seen by you. Make the best of what you have and don’t do the compare game, the “pity party” route, or fall into the jealousy trap.  You’re better than that!
  4. Take care of yourself. During the holiday many people slack off their normally healthy life style. They quit exercising, drink and eat too much, and don’t get enough rest. All of this fosters depression. You need to keep up, or begin, that which is healthy so that joy can be experienced.
  5. Make a gratitude list. Many people do not look at, focus on, and appreciate the good in their life. Look around, see some of the people that love and care about you. See the positives in your life.
  6. Develop new traditions. As your life circumstances evolve it may be time to change up some of the usual customary traditions that may be more fitting. Hopefully such changes can ease up on some of the stress you may have from needing to do what you have done in the past.
  7. Give to others. It is difficult to feel depressed when you give to someone and see their glee and appreciation of your efforts.
  8. Realize that you are loveable and the future is bright if you will do all you can to make it happen. Give it your best shot!

Thank you for reading my column and being so nice to tell me that you like them when we meet. It means a lot to me!  I hope these suggestions are helpful.  Happy holiday!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates

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