Here are some tips for enjoying the holiday season. Tuck these suggestions away and use whenever you need them throughout the year.

  1. Attempt to maintain a positive attitude. “Reframe” any negative experience into a positive experience. Don’t ignore negatives, just look for the positive hiding within them.
  2. Develop a positive self-expression. Smile more. Compliment more. Be gracious and helpful. There are no tragedies here – slow down, relax and enjoy the holiday season. Everything will work out.
  3. Have a positive expectation of this season and New Year’s. We tend to get not what we want but what we expect. It is amazing how many people see beauty when others see devastation, yet they are looking at the same thing.
  4. Most people take great personal satisfaction in helping others. This is a time of year to be extra giving of attention, kindness, forgiveness and caring. An extra few moments to help a stranger or smile at a tired store clerk can help to ease the tensions in his or her world. Take this attitude with you wherever you go.
  5. Be more childlike and playful. Slow down and enjoy the moment. When you are 90 years old and taking your last breath, as you look over your life, you will not say, “You know, way back during that holiday season, I wish I rushed around a little more.” It won’t happen. Remember what is important – the experience of life.
  6. If you are alone this season, do your best to make it as wonderful as possible. Try not to sink into self-pity and feeling sorry for yourself but be dedicated to making this season the best ever…for YOU! If you don’t do it for you, why should anyone else? This is your life, your experience, so make it wonderful. You deserve nothing less and only you can make that happen.
  7. People tend to exaggerate negatives going from “that is bad” to “that is horrible.” Attempt to stop doing that and counter with the opposite. When good things happen, go from “that is good” to “that is wonderful (or terrific, or fantastic).”
  8. Enjoy the little things in life. If it takes something huge for you to appreciate life or to enjoy yourself, unfortunately, you will be down a lot of the time. When was the last time you stood outside during a snowfall trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue? Making angels in the snow? Or a snowman? Enjoy the experience of life.
  9. Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” I think he was right. Being light-hearted has never brought on a heart attack.
  10. In any given situation, you can choose kindness over any other response. So, choose kindness.

I would like to wish you a holiday season filled with love, laughter and a deep sense of appreciation for the wonderfulness that is in your life. It is a great time to simply appreciate YOU.

Happiness in a Nutshell

  • Try not to take life too seriously.
  • Be more child-like, more playful. It’s good for you.
  • Give and forgive more readily. Be slow to criticize. Choose kindness.
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Daniel Rutley

Daniel Rutley, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychotherapist in private practice in Mississauga. He is also the best-selling author of Escaping Emotional Entrapment: Freedom from negative thinking and unhealthy emotions. He specializes in depression, anxiety, anger, habit control and relationship issues.