by Alissa Klugh, MS, LPC
It’s that time of year again: the business ensues of the holiday season. You try to keep a smile on your face because this is a “joyous” time of year, but the long to-do lists, the holiday parties and obligations, and the pressure to “do it all” starts to sink in. How do we keep a warm heart, when even the weather outside is telling us to be cold?
I’m not an expert in happiness, nor would I ever claim to be, but I do understand the experience of happiness. Keep in mind that we oftentimes chase happiness, rather than truly experience it, in the moment. Happiness is not an “overall” feeling, but a feeling that can be brief, and fleeting. It’s something we have to catch and recognize when it happens. How do we stay “happy” during a time when we are extra stressed?
Here are a few tips on how to catch happiness.
- Take in the moment. We don’t do this enough. We push to get things done and want to mark off everything on our long lists, keeping time management in mind. How often do you “stop and smell the roses?” This expression did not come out of no where. In its most literal sense, we are advising people to take a tiny moment out of their day to be mindful of their current experience. Next time you’re waiting in line at the store, or sitting in a crowded auditorium of your child’s holiday chorus concert, pause, look around you, and take in the experience. Name the feeling that you have as you glance at your child on stage. What is it? Pride? Excitement? A little bit of worry because he/she has a solo that you want him/her to nail? It’s okay to feel any of those emotions. Say to yourself “I feel _____ right now.” Take a deep breath, and let it ruminate. Enjoy that moment of pride.
- Express your gratitude. Between running to the store, cleaning, putting up decorations, and making sure that your last assignment is done for work, we get lost, and may even get cranky. We lose sight of the good. Remind yourself that you are grateful for the experience – whatever it is. Make a note to yourself, or to those involved: “I am grateful for this moment,” “I am thankful to have you here with me,” “I appreciate your help with cleaning up the boxes left from our decorations.” Don’t let the little things slide. They are all meaningful. State their meaningfulness.
- Give. Give. Give. Ever heard of the law of attraction? It’s the experience of good attracts good and bad attracts bad. When I say “give” I don’t mean give a bunch of presents so that someone will give a bunch of presents to you. We all love a good gift, but that’s not what I’m getting at, here. I’m referring to selflessly giving to others. This could be in the form of a gift, of service, of kindness. It takes many forms. When you are able to give, openly and wholeheartedly, you make more space to accept the gifts of others – tangible or intangible. Don’t expect it back, but know that like attracts like. If you constantly give off the negative vibe, guess what you’re going to get back? You guessed it – negative. Who wants that? Next time you’re in a busy mall, dodging the crowds, and waiting in a long line – tell your cashier that you appreciate what they do and that their hard work does not go unnoticed. Chances are, they are not having the easiest day, but you just gave them a little bit of hope that there is still good in this world. Maybe you’ll inspire them to share their cheer with the next customer. Not all of us have money to give, so why not try giving the kindness of your words, instead?
There are many other tips I could give you about staying warm at this challenging time of year. The best I can do is encourage you to do good. Take in the moment. Express your gratitude. Give. Your willingness to be kind, generous, and thankful will come back to you.
Now, go out there and do all that you can to enjoy the small moments of this busy season. Stay warm, it’s what your heart likes best.
The information in this passage is about gratitude and making small attempts to enjoy your daily experiences. While there are many other ways to enjoy your life, it is ultimately up to you to decide what works best for you.
Best wishes to you and yours.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Alissa, you can do so by contacting our practice, directly at 412-367-0575 or clicking here to request a session.