A Carefree Christmas

A Carefree Christmas

The holiday season is a time of joy for many people – but not all. For some people, holidays don’t bring good cheer, but rather anxiety, stress or depression. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Aligning your expectations with your emotions can go a long way toward helping you have happy holidays.

1. Strive to be more accepting

Life happens. So many things happen that are beyond our control. You have to know that things are going to happen – no matter what you do. The only thing you have control over is how you feel about the things that happen. No one sets expectations for you except you. In this regard, our expectations can set us up for disappointment or happiness. Both are a choice.

It’s all a mindset: If we accept that things will happen as they will, that we do not control them, and that we will be happy no matter the outcome – then there is no room for disappointment. Things happen and they just are what they are.

It’s only when we put too much emphasis on particular outcomes, that we find disappointment when our desired outcomes are not achieved.

Developing an accepting mindset that separates our feelings and emotions from external events allows us to be in control of ourselves. In this way, events lack the power to influence how we feel.

How to apply this to the holidays

Using the mindset described above, as an example of a typical holiday scenario: We can accept that certain family members are annoying and are always going to be that way. We can’t control that. And if we can’t avoid being around them, we can accept that they are going to be who they are. But we can control whether or not we allow their behavior to affect our happiness.

2. Be generous – with or without money

Let’s get this straight right up front… Generosity isn’t about money. The season of giving isn’t about spending cash on other people. Generosity can be expressed in a variety of ways.

We can be generous in our thoughts, words, actions, attention, understanding, affection, love, experience, wisdom, and even our time. None of these involve money – but they mean so much more than money. Some of these are also things money can’t buy.

You can freely give the gift of generosity without it costing you a single cent!

3. Celebrate your purpose in life

While Christmas, at least started as a religious holiday, even if you aren’t religious, you can celebrate the holiday as a way of finding joy, purpose and meaning in life. What many people project at Christmas is love and its byproducts of joy, generosity and caring. It’s a time when we slow down a bit and take a moment to think about others, to give, remember, show humility and appreciate.

Even though the holiday has been so commercialized – love doesn’t cost a dime. You can give to others just by being there for them. Saying a kind word or lending a receptive ear. You can let others know how much you appreciate them. You can give of your time and try to help those who need assistance or simply a moment of companionship.

In fact, it’s a good time to reject the materialism and commercialism that is now associated with the holiday. Both of these things have led to waste, abuse of the environment in spiraling credit debt.

As psychologists have repeatedly voiced and shown – wealth and having more things doesn’t contribute towards happiness. This is reflected by the fact that a lot of wealthy people and celebrities, who seem to have it all, commit suicide.

Every person is important and unique

Whether you realize it or not, all of us make a contribution to this world. We each have a unique contribution to offer. We each play a role in making things happen. From the person who picks crops from the field, to those who load the truck, to those who drive the truck, to those who stack it on store shelves, from the consumer who purchases it, and everyone in between. In every walk of life, there is a similar chain, which demonstrates our interconnectedness and importance. We all have a part and that indeed makes us important to the whole and to the world.