“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp and peace in your heart!”
proverb of the Inuit
The holidays are just around the corner.
A time of necessary relaxation and more time with the people who are closest to us.
A time of stress and worry. A time with not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by cheerful commercials and movies.
It can be a time of mixed feelings.
So today I want to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you make the holidays – and 2023 too – a happier and more peaceful time.
1. Slow down.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
Slow down first. Although it might feel silly and you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.
Breathe slower and deeper with your stomach (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).
Eat more slowly (not only will this help you relax, it will also help you not to overeat during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).
Slow down and watch what you’re doing.
Be here now and focus on doing one thing at a time.
By slowing down by being here now, by not dividing your focus on many things, you – your body and your mind – begin to relax.
2. Appreciate the little things instead of focusing on perfection.
“No one can be upset by a balloon.”
A large part of everyday happiness is appreciating the little things.
When you allow yourself to be happy, when you’ve accomplished a great goal, or when everything falls into place perfectly, you’re making life harder than it needs to be.
Instead, focus on valuing things that you might take for granted.
Take two minutes and find things in your life to appreciate now.
If you’d like a handful of suggestions, here are some of the things I like to appreciate about the holidays:
All the delicious food. My health. My family and friends. That I have a roof and a warm home when the snow falls and the cold winds blow. The beautiful winter landscapes.
3. Give someone else a little joy.
“Since you find more joy in bringing joy to others, you should consider the happiness you can give.”
This may sound like an empty cliché, but it certainly works. One of the best ways to become happier is to make others happier.
When you make someone else happy, you can sense, see, feel, and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.
And since the law of reciprocity is strong, there’s another benefit. People will feel like they want to give you something back.
Or pass it on to someone else.
And so, in pairs (or more), you build an upward spiral of things like positivity, helping, cheering, and listening and supporting.
4. Focus on what matters most.
“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to be happy.”
“Joy is not in things; it is within us.”
Instead of focusing on many things, focus on what is most important and valuable to you.
If you still have Christmas gifts to buy, instead of giving away a lot of expensive stuff, it might be better to give one thing that the person you’re giving to will really appreciate it.
Or maybe you could forego giving a physical thing altogether. And instead give someone an experience that will be a special day and a beautiful memory for him or her or both of you.
However you decide to get things done over the holidays, make your decisions the best you can and not a series of shoulds that most of the time leave you feeling discouraged.
5. Just accept how you are feeling right now.
“We can’t change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
You might try some of the tips above.
And they still can’t help you shake off that negativity, worry, or stress you’re carrying around. I would then suggest that you just accept that the feeling is there.
Tell yourself: This is how I feel right now and I accept it.
This may sound counterintuitive and like giving up.
However, by accepting how you are feeling instead of fighting back, you reduce the emotional energy you are feeding into that conflict or issue.
And it tends to lose speed like a car that’s running out of gas.
Sometimes the problem or conflict then becomes so faint that it simply disappears from the mind.
By accepting what is, you have now freed up energy and your attention to allow your mind to become more level-headed, open, and constructive again.
And you can see more clearly and work toward a solution in a more focused manner.