What are you doing to smile lately?
Smiling is important. When we feel depressed or anxious we typically don’t smile too much. We also tend to focus on why life is not going well. With the holidays upon us, although many are looking forward to them, there are also many who wish they would quickly be over. There are various reasons why we feel the way we do about the holidays. For those who struggle with feeling good, it could be because the holidays are a reminder of people no longer with us. It can be a time when we see people who have hurt us, but who others don’t know they hurt us. This can make gatherings especially uncomfortable. It might be a time that you have historically struggled and therefore may feel trapped to go through yet another year of holiday depression.
What if this year were different? What if you planned this year to be your best holiday yet. Some of you might be thinking, “That’s just not going to happen!”
The quick response to such a statement usually is, “Why not?”. My response is, “What would you need to do, to make it the best?”
As with most things, what we think directs our behavior. If we think, “There is no way the holidays can be good”, we are likely to not have a very good couple of weeks. What if you were to plan on making the holidays wonderful? If that was the goal, what would you need to do and how would you need to think to reach your goal of having the best holiday ever?
If you don’t plan it, you are likely to just follow whatever you are thinking and your experience will be pretty predictable. In fact, you might be predicting it already – “The holidays are going to be terrible and I can’t wait until they are over.”
Try tuning into the dialogue you have going on regarding the holidays. Perhaps write it down (I know, I love to suggest writing things down). Writing things down is one way to get what you are thinking out of your head. It is easier to observe the thoughts you have when they are on paper or a screen and not swirling around in your head. If you determine that the dialogue you have is not very uplifting, in fact, maybe it’s pretty depressing, then perhaps you could try changing it.
Remember what your goal is. Is it to feel bad and just drag yourself through the holidays or do you want to enjoy yourself as much as you can?
I hope you decide to have the best holidays ever.
~ Dr. Lou