When The Holidays are Just Too Much

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 Around the holidays, it’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed.  Psychology Today offered some suggestions that may help you stay merry and bright, no matter what the season brings. 

  1. Don’t lose sight of what makes you happy.  It is easy to become obsessed with everything being perfect.  If you find yourself snapping because the shopper next to you got the last one, the holiday light display is sagging, or the table is not set just right, take a deep breath.  True happiness often is found in everyday routines and healthy relationships. 
     
  2. Give thanks for what you have.  This seems like a natural corollary to point number one.  Instead of focusing on what is not quite right, redirect your thinking.  Sure, your great Aunt’s stories are inappropriate, and the mashed potato incident was not great, and there are some good moments, too.  If you are able, find time to write down the things for which you are grateful to have in your life.  Then, review it as needed. 
     
  3. Do nice things for other people.  Not everyone has a warm coat, much less a warm home and a patience-trying holiday meal.  Giving to others can help give meaning to the season.  You could donate Blood at the local Blood Bank, to a favorite charity, help out at a food pantry or a shelter, or visit elderly neighbors.  One of the very best aspects of giving is that it can make us happier.

Embrace experiences.  If you want to have a memorable holiday, do not buy lots of gifts. Give experiences.  Happiness research suggests, “…happiness is derived from experiences, not things… when they are shared, experiences allow us to get closer to others in a way impossible with inanimate objects that we can buy,” reported Paul Ratner on BigThink.com.


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