As the holidays approach are you starting to feel the stress they can bring and starting to not feel so good about all you have to do to get ready? Then of course you might be dreading interactions with your in-laws or other family members that you will visit or will be visiting you. No matter how much we love our family members and might enjoy spending extra time with them during the holidays, there can be stress associated with being with people who we want to please or who have expectations of us. Miscommunications, being extra sensitive to criticisms or perceived criticisms, taking words out of context, and having extra sensitive emotions around this time of year and with those people we are closest to can cause stress, hurt feelings and bring on anger and resentment. One of the Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz writes about is “Don’t take anything personally”. When dealing with family members, this is one way to avoid the stress, but this is often not that easy to do. It is a good principle to practice however and the next time your mother-in-law makes a comment about your cooking, cleaning or child raising skills is a good time to stop, take a breath and remind yourself that her comments are not about you, but rather her projection. It would be wonderful if the holidays could be all about being happy, joyful, serene and relaxing, but the reality is that many people experience so much stress around them that they can’t wait for them to be over and life to get back to “normal”. As more and more research is done on brain functioning however, scientists are discovering that happiness is a choice and there are ways to support choosing happiness.
One of the problems involved with choosing happiness comes from feeling powerless. Gary Zukav, the author of The Seat of the Soul and co-founder of the Seat of the Soul Institute, points out that people often feel unworthy of happiness or undeserving or are skeptical that it can last and that it will result in pain when it ends. Getting past these feelings requires making an inner change and finding our personal power. The first step to this is to be aware of when we start feeling unworthy or reacting to a situation from a place of powerlessness. This allows us to choose how we will respond instead of mechanically reacting which leads to healthier interactions and brings us closer to living life consciously. Bringing this type of consciousness into our lives allows us to be in more positive, joyful and serene states. So in the example of the critical mother-in-law, instead of reacting with an angry or defensive response to her critical statement directed at you, thank her for her input and assure her you will give it the consideration it deserves. In many cases that consideration will be to just throw it away and remind yourself it is only her own projection and has nothing to do with you. But the point is that you have maintained your serenity and remain standing in a positive place. By not taking her criticism to heart and choosing to respond rather than react, you increase your personal power and feelings of worthiness. Louise Hay has spent many years developing affirmations that empower and help people heal body, mind and spirit beginning with her 1976 book, Heal Your Body. Affirmations really do work and here are a few from Louise Hay that you can use to give yourself a boost when getting ready for the holidays.
“All is well in my world.”
“Life supports me in every possible way.”
“I deserve the best, and I accept it now. All my needs and desires are met before I even ask.”
“I handle my own life with joy and ease.”
Other Ways to Support Happiness
You’ll find lots of self-help books, programs and advice from current day psychologists and experts and wisdom from teachers throughout history on how to attain happiness. Today research is actually starting to study what conditions lead to happiness. Some of the results show that being true to yourself, doing those things that you love doing, engaging with challenges and finding a purpose in life to pursue as being conditions that make for happy people. According to Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having meaningful goals to work towards brings on thoughts that create positive emotions and well-being. A study from lead researcher Carol Ryff, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported that women with a purpose in life and working on self-development not only scored high on psychological tests but also had reduced stress hormones, less risk factors for heart disease, experienced better sleep and less issues with weight. Another study led by David Schkade, PhD, a psychologist and professor of management at the University of California San Diego discovered that we often don’t even realize that we can control our own happiness. This study involved 900 women writing about the things they do on a daily basis and how they didn’t realize that they spend a lot of time doing things they don’t like to do. Of course we all have to do some things we don’t particularly like doing in order to live up to our responsibilities and “pay the bills”. But according to Schkade taking even small amounts of time away from jobs you dislike to do something you do like can help increase your joy and happiness level.
Feel So Good Happiness Tips
With all this in mind, here are a few tips to help you increase happiness and joy in your life and to help you reduce some of the holiday stress.
- Make time to hang out with close friends that you can let go and be yourself around.
- Use herbal tinctures that can help relieve stress and anxiety such as Kava Kava or Rescue Remedy.
- Limit your caffeine intake as it can contribute to symptoms of anxiety.
- Spend some part of your day engaging in physical activity.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep.
- Eat a diet that will support immune system function to stay healthy. This includes foods with antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can suppress your immune system. Antioxidants are very important in promoting a healthy immune system which can aid in prevention of disease leading to chronic pain symptoms. When you need some help getting nutrition to support your immune system consider a nutritional whole food supplement such as this one that not only is full of antioxidants but was designed to nourish your own existing stem cells that can maintain and renew body tissue and help in maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Make time to engage in activities that you enjoy and help you cope with stress and relax. Plan special activities ahead of time so that you have the anticipation of something to look forward to that you can concentrate on when you are having to do chores you don’t like.
- Eat mushrooms to help take care of your health. Certain types of mushrooms have been found to be a great natural source for improving immunity. They increase white blood cells and increase their activity which gives a boost to the immune system. There are a wide variety of mushrooms and some have been found useful in killing off bacteria, viruses, and yeast and even useful in fighting cancer. Experts tend to agree that taking a combination of mushrooms rather than just one single variety seems to be the most effective for immune system support. A good way to accomplish this is by taking supplements with high quality organic mushroom ingredients. This supplement gives you a blend of reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with the added benefit of astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae.
- Plan holiday tasks ahead and plan the time to get them done realistically without doing too much at any one time. Trying to do all your shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating in a day or two can be exhausting, leaving you worn out, stressed and a perfect target for sickness. Look for things you can do ahead of time and spread all the holiday tasks out over a longer period of time.
- Get your coenzyme Q10. This coenzyme is important for stress relief and daily energy. You can get ubiquinol, which is the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, as well as the immune support power of reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and bluegreen alage in this supplement.
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