It’s funny how Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of year but a lot of us get all too stressed out and too busy with our daily, mundane lives and trivial distractions that we have quite forgotten what Christmas really is all about.
Christmas is all about the simple things in life that bring us true joy. After all, ‘tis the season to be merry.
Here are 6 simple ways to help you find more joy this holiday season:
- Change your frame of mind.
It’s a matter of seeing things in a different light. Most people dread the thought of last minute Christmas shopping but they still end up doing it anyway for whatever reason they may have. They see this activity as perhaps one of the most stressful things to do during the holidays.
Now imagine if you could just shift how you think and instead look at this as an opportunity for you to ask help from your husband or wife or kids and treat it as a bonding activity. Wouldn’t that bring you more joy than just seeing it as an overwhelming chore? There are two sides to every coin. It’s a matter of choosing which side brings you more joy. In this case, last minute shopping can either be seen as an activity to nurture relationships or an activity for boosting stress. Which one would you choose?
As what the famous author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
- Forget about expectations.
A lot of sadness or feelings of inadequateness come from the fact that we tend to set a bar too high for ourselves or things or other people. When you set too many and too high expectations about yourself and you unfortunately fail to meet them, you tend to pound yourself with all the blame and guilt. Then you feel inadequate. You feel you’ve failed. You criticize yourself. You’ve forgotten to love yourself.
What’s funny is that we become our own worst judge. We tend to be too hard on ourselves whenever we fall short of our expectations. In fact, we become our own worst critic. We choose to victimize ourselves by judging ourselves harshly. We both become a victim and a judge.
So forget about expectations, or at least, lower your expectations and learn to accept that sometimes you have no control over things and you simply have to let go. Accept instead of expect.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Instead of focusing on negative things, focus on the positive side. Instead of complaining about the cold winter snow or the crazy, long line at the cashier, or the money you’d have to spend buying all those Christmas gifts, think about the things you’re grateful for during that day. Count your blessings. Count all of them – your work, your family, your life, your alarm clock for waking you up so you won’t be late for work, the lady who greeted you this morning at the coffee shop, the slice of chocolate cake you had over lunch, the clouds, the beautiful weather, and the list goes on.
When you’re thankful for even the simplest and littlest of things, you begin to be more accepting and you basically open yourself to a world of abundance. Gratitude comes from a place of abundance and when you come from abundance, it bounces back to you.
To help you develop an attitude of gratitude, keep a gratitude journal that’s small enough to fit in your bag so you can take it with you wherever you go. As you go about your day, try to list down the things that you’re grateful for on that day. List down as many things as you can. This journal will then remind you everyday about how blessed you are and how awesome life actually is.
- Forgive yourself and forgive others.
Christmas is a time for us to reflect and really look inside ourselves. Try to dig up some inner wounds that are still clinging. Do you still have wounds that need to be healed? Are you discovering feelings of anger? Or sorrow? Or pain? Whatever that is, and as hard as this might seem, you have to set yourself free and allow those wounds to be healed by going through the process of forgiveness. Forgive others for their trespasses or shortcomings and at the same time, forgive yourself. Practicing good meditation can be your perfect avenue for going through this healing process. However, healing doesn’t take place overnight. It could take weeks or months, or years. But what’s important is that you’re getting there.
- Share yourself to others.
The best gift that you can give to others is yourself. So share your time and your presence to people around you and show simple acts of love and kindness. You may either volunteer at a shelter or a retirement home. Even a simple hug or a sincere smile can already make a huge, huge difference to someone who might be having a bad day. Radiate your love and joy to everyone.
- Focus on the present.
Always direct your focus to what’s here and now. Let go of the past because dwelling in the past would only harbor grief, misery, and regret. Let go of the future otherwise you will be living a life full of anxiety, worry, and fear. Let go. And just live in the moment.
It is the simple joys in life that make the holiday season extra special. Treat yourself and others with love and compassion. Savor every moment. And you will find inner peace and joy in your soul not only during Christmas but in each moment of your life.
Make it a special one…
Love and Peace