‘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.”
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.
Happiness, Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener
The Power of A Positive No by William Ury