Oh, the holidays! The most wonderful time of year! Parties with family and friends, festive decorations, delicious confectioneries, pretty paper packages (tied up with string)!
...Or is it more like drama with family and friends, no date for the Christmas party, silly decorations, more food to make you fat, too many drinks, more money to blow on people you don’t really like...ugh.
If your current situation is bit more like the latter, then look no further! Here’s 3 quick and simple ways to find your holiday spirit again:
#1 FOCUS ON THE GOOD STUFF
If you actually stopped to think, I’m sure your life isn’t terrible. If you are reading this, it’s more than likely your basic needs are currently met. I was reminded recently that if you make more than $10 a day, you’re richer than 80% of the world’s population. It’s easy to brush off a statistic like that because for most of us, true poverty is not an issue. However, we have our own struggles that are VERY relevant to us: student loan debt, credit card debt, upside-down car loans and mortgages, etc.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we don’t have, that we forget to pay attention to what we do have. There’s this great book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; the idea is that we find our joy in our gratitude. She challenges her readers to keep a log of all the things in life to be grateful for, both big and small. When you’re having a bad day, open up that log and refresh your memory of all the incredible gifts you have in your life.
#2 STOP COMPARING
Social media has provided us a daily (or even hourly) way to constantly compare ourselves with others. One of the many problems with this is that comparison steals our gratitude. Have you ever just had a fantastic day, then browsed your Facebook Newsfeed and suddenly felt like your day was much worse? It’s crazy how quickly we minimize the things that were amazing just a few minutes ago when compared with someone else.
Remember that perception is EVERYTHING. A great way to avoid comparison is to recognize that your joy is your own. An amazing day to you may be a horrible day to someone else. Remember that old saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure?” Well, same idea here! And if you must compare, do it the other way: take a look at someone else’s life and be grateful for the things you have going on in yours.
#3 BE GENEROUS
‘Tis the Season! For real, though, giving to others if one of the best ways to add some happy back into your life. There is a reason that non-profits like Salvation Army and Toys for Tots attract so much attention during the holidays: people want to give! According to Sean Stannard-Stockton, “humans are actually hardwired to enjoy the act of helping others.” (Why Do People Really Give to Charity?) What better way to take the attention off of yourself and focus it in a positive way than giving to others?! Think about it: have you ever done something nice for someone (altruistically; not because you have poor boundaries and didn’t say ‘no’) and felt icky? Doubtful, because research suggests that our brains actually produce chemical rewards when we do nice things for others.
Bottom Line: Most of the struggles you are having with the Holidays are in your head, and not in the made-up kinda way. The majority of the time, simply how we think about ourselves and our situations causes us to be unhappy. Make a few changes, and see the difference for yourself. I’d LOVE to hear about what changes you’ve made and how it’s helped in the comments!
Oh, and don’t forget to download my FREE Gratitude Refresher to help you get started on finding your joy again!
Until next time...