Accessing Happiness During the Holidays

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By Rachel Morici, LPC

 Picture of Rachel Morici, LPC

Holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy life, but for some, it can be challenging. These great tips can help get you through the season.

Many of us struggle during the holidays. Perhaps we are triggered by the loss of what used to be, nostalgia and melancholy or the shorter days of winter. It is not uncommon to get lost in sorrow. At times, the tension, worry and stress manifest in so many different ways. Illness, depression, anxiety, over-eating, avoiding life/emotions through drinking, numbing, somatic issues like headaches/migraines, and digestive issues.
Certain self-care advice is needed during these times because we can so easily get caught in a spiral of negativity and negative emotions. Here is a list of some ideas to set you on a positive path during the holidays.

Become aware of the boundaries unique to your own needs and health. If watching, reading and partaking in the news and media, articles and talk shows agitates your anxiety, take a step back. Return to your center and balance by using that energy in different, more positive ways. Avoid watching negatively-focused news programs. Avoid participating in it while you gather your thoughts.

Recall the things that ground you. This will help you find your own clarity in the situation. Remember gratitude, nature, music, the arts, the things that inspire you.

After you’ve established this balance and find clarity, HONOR YOUR VALUES. Do you value family or solitude? Do you value kindness? Do you value faith and spirituality? Do you thrive on creative self-expression? Immerse yourself in your values and what is important to you, whatever that may be.

Recognize that your attitude is key. Your happiness is something to ACCESS not to ATTAIN. Shawn Achor is a researcher and psychologist that teaches about positive psychology. He poses that 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted by how you view your world. Watch his TED talk (see note below) to understand this concept further.

First, connect with YOU; give yourself compassion and kindness, as you would a friend that is struggling. Then perhaps, connect with your community. Connect with those individuals that allow you to be who you truly are, to be yourself. Utilize this time to remember what truly matters; the humanity of you connecting to someone else wherever they are at. Being there. Being present. Being in touch with humility breeds personal growth and understanding. In any conflict, there is an opportunity to learn and grow.

The spirit of gratefulness reminds us that we have so much to be thankful for. The water we drink, the nature that surrounds us, the people in our lives, the people whose lives we touch. Keep a gratitude journal or list daily as a reminder.