4 Steps to Holiday Happiness

Every year, the holidays stress me out no matter how much I try to have a good time. Family, friends, coworkers, and kids drive me over the edge. How can I stay happy this holiday season?

Even though it's not easy, take the higher road. Choose to be happy, and stay focused on that goal.

You may be able to feel it in the air right now. Preparations, planning, perfection, and parents are all contributing factors to what one may call stress.

We want everything to go just right, we want everyone to love their gifts and be joyful. At the same time, we are confronted with the fact we never forgave Uncle Joe for that thing 5 years ago, and he is coming to the family gathering this year. Plus our mother drives us crazy with her judgmental anxiety-driven unbelievable-amount of perfectionism when it comes to hosting parties. Our grandparents are aging. What about our holiday party for work where we find out what our boss really thinks of us? Not to mention the kids screaming, outbursts, or fighting in the midst of the shopping center.

The stakes are high during the holiday season, depression is very plausible, stress is inevitable, and awkward moments may ensue at any time.

I am introducing a fool-proof plan to aid against any negative experiences you may encounter during these last weeks of the year.

Step 1: Happiness Decision

This is the very first step in surviving the holiday season. You have to be able to choose happiness right now, just because you can. This means you empower yourself to be in charge of your own happiness. You are no longer holding anyone else responsible for your own happiness. You are taking your happiness into your own hands. If you want to actually sign a declaration of happiness, you can find it here. This is the most important decision of your life.

Step 2: Forgiveness

As we enter this joyous time of year, go ahead and come to a forgiveness mindset when it comes to family members, colleagues, or even strangers. Reconcile with yourself that no matter what, you will be forgiving of issues in the past and present. This will help you work through any mistakes or wrongdoing that may arise as the intensity of the holiday season increases for everyone.

Step 3: What I love about you is _______.

Give yourself permission to be the happiness activist wherever you go and whatever you are doing. You can bring a smile to anyone’s face at any time with a positive statement like: “What I love about you is ______.”

Step 4: “Say Six Nice Things”

There has been great research on how to mend negative feelings through positive interaction to the point where we know exactly how many positive statements it takes to turn a frown upside down. The work relationship ratio is 3:1 and the family relationship ratio is 6:1. If you adopt a "Six Nice Things" policy in your family, this will help your family to become a truly happy family.

All in all, first take charge of your own happiness, realize a mindset of forgiveness is going to soften how you respond to negative events, incorporate positive communication to boost happiness in your loved ones, and use the positivity ratio 6:1 to mend or even prevent hurt feelings.

How do you navigate the end of the year holiday season and make it through to the new year happy and with a positive attitude? Please share your best tips in the comments.

Dr. Aymee Coget, Sustainable Happiness Expert, founder of The Happiness Makeover™ Training Program offers services and products on how to become happier at her website www.happinessmakeover.com. Ask questions and visit her on Facebook or Twitter (@draymee), or her blog www.draymee.blogspot.com.

Join Dr. Aymee LIVE on Tuesday November 29, 2011 at 2pm PST to get your specific questions about eliminating stress answered.


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