7 Ways Up When Holidays Get You Down

Recreate the holiday season! If it is an unhappy or stressful time of year for you, give it new purpose and meaning. First and foremost…

1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

DON’T
 drink too much
 eat too much
 spend too much
 be a couch potato

DO
 eat natural, healthy foods

drink lots of water
 get enough sleep
 walk, exercise
 spend time outdoors

Human bodies are designed for regular physical activity. The sedentary nature of much of modern life probably plays a significant role in the epidemic incidence of depression today. Many studies show that depressed patients who stick to a regimen of aerobic exercise improve as much as those treated with medication. Andrew Weil

2. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS

The value of expressing feelings cannot be over-estimated…

When you hold your breath, eat when you’re not hungry, drink too much or distract yourself in some way from what you’re feeling, you are repressing energy…It is temporarily out of sight but not out of mind. In spite of best efforts to keep it hidden, repressed energy leaks out into our bodies, feelings and behavior. From Healing Feelings

Acknowledge how you feel without judging yourself. Verbalize your emotions. Talking is a catharsis. It releases pent up energy. Words put rambling thoughts and feelings into
 order and help us understand ourselves. If no one is available to talk to, write about your thoughts and feelings. If emotional pain is severe, seek professional help.

DO
 Take emotional responsibility 
 Acknowledge and express feelings

DON’T

Blame
Dwell on negative emotions

3. SMILE AND LAUGH

To instantly feel better…

SMILE!

Psychologist Paul Ekman who extensively studied faces said, “What we discovered is that expression alone is sufficient to create marked changes in the autonomic nervous system.” The look on your face has a direct effect on your body! Smiling sends a message to your brain and body that everything is good. You immediately start to feel better…As the subconscious gets the message that all is well, your outlook and behavior are affected. From Make the Best of the Rest of Your Life

LAUGHTER…

Produces endorphins that counter stress
 Boosts the immune system
 Relieves pain
 Increases blood flow
 Stimulates the brain and aids memory
 Improves mood and raises self-confidence
 Transcends logic and negative thinking
 Overcomes feelings of fear, isolation, depression, anger
 Creates a bond between people
 Expands awareness and perception

Warning: Humor may be hazardous to your illness. Ellie Katz

Watch sitcoms and funny movies. Enjoy a laugh out loud book like The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

4. EXTEND YOURSELF

Put your focus on others. Brighten someone’s day. Express gratitude to friends and family. Participate. Go to community and church gatherings. Volunteer. Take gifts to people in nursing homes or shelters. Adopt a pet. Be a secret Santa.

For more ideas:
 Pay It Forward
 Impact Someone’s Holiday

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

5. CREATE A RITUAL

Replace the holiday season as it is generally perceived with something meaningful for you. Make it a time of personal retreat, cleansing of body or home. Design your own spiritual retreat. Read, listen to music, meditation tapes. Do a detox diet. If you are alone at Christmas, make it a time to celebrate you. Buy yourself gifts. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, create a ritual to celebrate that person’s memory. Write letters to the spirit of the deceased expressing your love and appreciation.

6. CHANGE YOUR PAST

Memories of unhappy holidays in the past can overshadow the present. We then blame the holidays for creating the pain but they are not the cause. They merely resonate memories and pain we are already holding. For that, we should actually be grateful. It is an opportunity for emotional healing.

Memories are not facts. They change depending upon the state of mind we are in at the present moment. If we look at the past through a different filter, our memories change. Painful memories can be transformed by looking through the eyes of forgiveness.

From Healing Feelings: When you change your mind, you change your past. When you change your past, you change its effect on the present. You no longer carry the resentment or anger or guilt or fear that the previous images of the past engendered so you also change your future. To forgive is to forget because your past experience is transformed into something else entirely.

We can change the past by changing the way we perceive it. Look at a negative memory from a different angle. What did you learn? How can you use it to grow, become stronger, wiser?

7. SET A GOAL

Set goals for the holidays. Use the time to learn and grow. Binge on TED Talks. Read a good book. Do something you’ve never done before. Find a new interest. Take up a hobby. Cook a special recipe. Write a short story. Take music lessons. Start learning another language. Goals & Motivation

Make a collage of inspiring pictures or quotes…

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life not matter what is going on around them. Jack Canfield

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into visible. Tony Robbins

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Oprah Winfrey

Are the holidays a challenge for you? Don’t close your eyes, shut down and hope they’ll pass quickly. Determine to look at them differently. Just the willingness to embrace the challenge holidays hold for you will make you feel better.

My Holiday Wish For You…

Love in Your Heart
 Peace in Your Mind
 Meaning in Your Life

Related

The Dark Side of the Holidays http://bit.ly/1TQvgLR
Lost in the Darkness of Depression http://bit.ly/1lXYC0b
Adrift in the Dark Night of the Soul http://bit.ly/1HUZXyX


Originally published at www.gerioneill.com on December 23, 2015.

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