Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas – a holy season for some and certainly a special event to gather the whole family for many other. However, and as with everything in life, this can be either perceived as a good thing, if you have a good relationship with your family, or a bad thing, if conflict is more present than not, and thus you don’t fancy this season at all.
The good news is that changing the way we perceive reality changes the way we feel and respond to it as well. Therefore, if Christmas is not such a pleasant time for you, using the following strategies can help you to cope better and save you from some of the distress and dread that may come with this holiday.
When we’re under stress, it’s hard to have a good time. A way to improve our mental state and our mood is to think about what we are grateful for in life. From little details to bigger achievements, when we go through such milestones and memories it’s like we are automatically uplifted. This happens because as we recall such positive events we somehow relive them mentally and we produce the same hormones as we did in the first time. Plus, we put a stop in what is feeding our negative outlook.
If you’re familiar with mindfulness, savouring will be an easy concept to put in practise. Savouring is all that we do or think that intensifies the positive benefits of a moment, either by extending its duration and/or enriching its quality. This sounds good but still rather abstract, right? To help you out, here are some concrete savouring strategies that you can use: share what you’re feeling in the moment with others, increase your sensory perception (e.g. pay attention to smells and sounds), and focus on the good side of the situation. In sum, everything you do to enrich your moment to moment experience will allow you to savour the present and also build up more vivid memories that you can recall in the future and feel grateful for.
In line with savouring, appreciation means that you focus on the good side of people or the situation you’re in instead of solely paying attention to what is wrong or not so positive. For instances, if people start moaning around you or chatting about all the bad things that are going on, either remove yourself from the conversation or decide not to contribute to the shared negativity. You can also opt for driving the conversation to something more positive – after all, it’s Christmas and it’s time to celebrate the good deeds.