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What’s your mantra for the holidays?

‘Tis the season for excess, consumption, and materialism.

Advertisers have seduced us all into thinking “more” is better and bargain deals are a must-have.

Do office parties, family gatherings, and neighborhood get-togethers cause you to overeat, overdrink, and overbook your daily life?

In this time of deep religious celebration of light, hope, and miracles, how is it that we veer so off-course feeling exhausted, rushed, and overstuffed.

In an attempt to live the holiday season with greater joy and ease, you may consider adopting a few mantras to hold you firmly grounded and centered during the holiday mayhem.

Four mantras to help you navigate the holiday season:

1.  The Mantra of Savoring

Happiness researchers will tell you that a way to increase joy is to practice savoring.  When you are multitasking, such as looking at your twitter feed while eating, you enjoy your food less. Savor your conversations, food, and time with others.  Really pause, notice, and think to yourself, I am going to savor this moment.  From the book, Happiness, Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth: 

The key component to effective savoring is focused attention. By taking the time and spending the effort to appreciate the positive, people are able to experience more well-being.

 2. The Mantra of Calculated Moderation 

The old adage, “everything in moderation” seems intuitively sound, but a recent study confirms that the concept does not translate well to your daily life.

The extent to which people believed they consumed foods in moderation was unrelated to how much of that food or drink they reported consuming,” the authors wrote. “Furthermore, participants’ ratings of their consumption as moderate for a given food item were unrelated to their definitions of moderate consumption of that item.”

Using data, such as caloric intake or a point system similar to Weight Watchers, is a better way to manage “moderate” consumption. The data won’t lie, but your brain may trick you into what I call “skewed moderation.”

 3. The Mantra of Forgiveness

The holidays and family gatherings can bring up a lot of emotion, tension, anxiety, sadness, shame, and an array of psychological turmoil. What fun! Misinterpretations, grudges, and unmet expectations can lead you down a path of disappointment, anger, and angst.

The science shows that the practice of forgiveness can help you increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Letting go of old emotional baggage takes courage.  Learning to forgive both yourself and others requires a good deal of empathy. How will you practice forgiveness this season?

4.  The Mantra of a Positive No

For those of you who are like me, a people pleaser, it is easy to get caught up in doing too much and then burning out.  Even a simple request or favor can be the last straw that puts you over the edge.  Before that happens, learn to say no or ask for help before you cross the line into overload.

Establish your boundaries for rude, toxic, or passive-aggressive behavior that can surface during family gatherings when old relationship patterns get triggered.  Forgiveness is helpful, but that doesn’t mean you accept or continue to tolerate unwanted or abusive behavior.  Walk away, limit contact, or articulate your boundaries for engagement.

“As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

― William Ury, The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

The paradox of life is that our human journey requires great hurdles to achieve bigger wins.  Courage requires standing in fear and vulnerability.  A powerful no requires risk and willpower to overcome patterns and bad habits.  Greater happiness requires self-acceptance, forgiveness, savoring the present moment, and empathy.  Not easy tasks for any of us.

As you journey forward through the days ahead, may you find the light, the hope, the blessings, and the joy this holiday season.

Peace be with you.

There are affiliate links in the blog and below for which I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Suggested Reading

Happiness, Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth  by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener

The Power of A Positive No by William Ury


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5 Key areas of your well-being. Where are you thriving and where are you not?

Our consumer-driven culture seduces us daily with all sorts of reasons to buy the latest fashion, gadget, toy, game, and car.  Advertising has us chasing product deals falsely tying our self-worth to some “thing.”

While consumerism may be good for the economy, is it really good for you? Do more toys or more clothes or more gadgets really make you happier?

What really improves your well-being?

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How to improve your health and your heart with Love 2.0

It’s a $19.8 billion dollar holiday.  Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day. The average American consumer spends $137.56  on Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, chocolates, meals, and other presents to woo, wow, or bestow love to that special someone.

With almost 30 days since the commercial hype of this romantic holiday, have you lost that lovin’ feeling?

  • Isn’t love more than just cupids, red hearts, and roses?
  • And what if you don’t have a romantic partner?  

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Feast or Moderation. How to keep off extra weight this Holiday season with customized incentives that work for you.

As we approach the end of the year, November and December mark two months of celebrations, feasts, holiday desserts and that unavoidable uptick in caloric intake.

The weight you sweated and worked so hard to shed when you made your New Year’s resolution back in early January is now at risk.  According to research, the average person gains 1.3 pounds during the holiday season starting in October with Halloween and ending in December after the Christmas holiday.

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Reacting vs Responding: How mindfulness can tame your emotional frenzy.

Do you find yourself yelling at the TV because of something said by a politician? Maybe you engage in road rage as you drive to work because someone cut you off or the light didn’t turn green fast enough. Perhaps a colleague or a spouse questions something you did and suddenly you go into red alert prepared for a full-on self-defense attack. These knee-jerk reactions are causing havoc on your well-being and health and mostly likely impairing your ability to make better decisions.

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What to do when you are experiencing job burnout.

Career burnout is an experience that anyone can face whether you are a fast-track, job-hopping Millennial, a plateaued Gen-Xer weathering career stagnation, or a sandwiched Boomer caring for both your children and your parents.

Consider these questions:

  • Do you find yourself becoming increasingly irritable or impatient with coworkers?
  • Have you developed a cynical outlook toward life?
  • Has your energy or motivation decreased?
  • Do you find that your accomplishments no longer bring you real joy or satisfaction?

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The Truth About Stress

Can stress be helpful?

There are times when a little bit is a good thing.  

When you are under pressure for a job interview or giving an important presentation or performance, the extra adrenaline and blood sugar provides you with the stamina and focus to take on the added pressure and challenge.

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Do you make 10,000 steps happen?

Science has long proven the benefits exercise has on our physical and mental well-being.

Staying in shape and exercising regularly has been a part of my routine for many years. However recently I decided to actually measure my activity and collect data to see if my exercise habits are actually meeting the 10,000 step guideline ( about 5 miles ).

I decided first to investigate the science behind 10,000 steps to learn more about how it became the “target” number for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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