The Seven Keys for a Happy Holiday Season

The holiday season typically brings to mind images of families and loved ones gathered around a blazing fire, roasting chestnuts, exchanging gifts. Sharing mugs of spiced hot apple cider, playing games or simply having fun together.

Candles and ribbonThere is another reality to this idyllic scene. Depression and psychological dysfunction is at an all time high throughout the holidays and family issues often become magnified.

Financial pressures, during this challenging economy, has decreased our buying power.  Those of us that do spend beyond our means are left with guilt and remorse over these expenditures even before the bills arrive.

Consciously or unconsciously, we are experiencing a collective fear about the economy. All of us have been affected in a multitude of ways by realities more far reaching than our own private lives, as we take stock of another year.

We need to dig deeper into our hearts and souls about what really matters. How can we infuse our holidays with meaning and love, filling a void that is greater than the need for more stuff? The time is upon us to redefine our vision of the holiday season.

Connection, community and compassion provide the antidote to depression and despair. The research continues to show that heathy relationships, support systems and altruistic deeds bring us authentic happiness. The brain registers a more lasting sense of joy when we truly connect and make a difference in others’ lives.

Here are 7 keys for creating a richer experience this holiday season:

  1. Choose to spend time with those who consistently make you feel good.
  2. Find creative ways of giving so that you avoid feeling pressured financially.
  3. Shift your focus from material things to creating experiences with the people in your life that matter the most.
  4. Write down several action plans each morning that will make your day happier and healthier.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal, writing down two or three things at the end of every day you are thankful for.
  6. Limit time with those family members that bring you down, and create boundaries when necessary.
  7. Take time out for yourself whether that means dedicating yourself to an exercise routine, meditation, coffee with a friend etc.

What is one thing you will commit to do this holiday season to bring more joy, health or connection into your life?

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