Stop everything and read this right now! Here are my top 4 tips for living with less stress and more ease during the holiday season. Heck, these tips can be used every day of your life!

1. WARNING: DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE THICK OF THIN THINGS!

If you are like most people during this time of year as the holidays approach, you may be already starting to feel the stress building over money, social events and family gatherings.  Maybe you were one of the lucky ones that decided to be proactive and not wait to become reactive like the majority of us.  No matter, again what could prove to be extremely beneficial would be how you mentally approach any of these situations you find yourself in during the hustle and bustle of the season.
Consider taking a 7 Habits approach [courtesy of Stephen Covey] to the holidays so you don’t get caught up in the thick of thin things:

  • Be proactive – plan ahead what you need to accomplish and enlist others for help
  • Begin with the end in mind – when thinking of going to dreadful social gatherings be proactive and think what a successful outcome would be to have a really good time [besides skipping it altogether 😉]
  • Put first things first and skip all the rest – do what you feel needs to get done and as P90X Guru Tony Horton says: “do your best and forget all the rest!”
  • Think win/win with whatever decision you have to make between competing calendar events, gifts to buy or places to visit.
  • Seek first to understand, then be understood – take the time to listen to understand and not respond [in some cases react] to your boss, spouse, partner, family member children or whatever the case may be.
  • Synergize and bring everyone’s ideas together for consideration and then select the best!
  • Sharpen the saw – take time for yourself!             

2. GROWTH NOT GOALS/RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR

My whole life I’ve struggled with the concept of goals. I guess my mind just doesn’t want to deal with them or ever found them to be motivating or effective. However, what does motivate and excite me is growth! When I think of goals, I think of something I am supposed to live up to versus growth as something I am willing to live into. We don’t “goal up” in life, but rather we grow up! The best example of failed goals over and over is New Year’s’ resolutions.

The research indicates that roughly 92% of the “goals” people set for the New Year crash and burn before the first month is even over. Here’s a quick tip on how to chart out a successful growth plan for the New Year. Pick an area you want to work on, for example the most popular goals people set out for January 1 are:

  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise
  • Save money

Get yourself a monthly calendar that has each day blocked off into little squares. At the top of the calendar write the following statement: DID I DO MY BEST TO…followed by listing whatever area[s] of your life you would like to improve upon. Then at the end of each day simply write a ‘Y’ or ‘N’ for each item you listed. At the end of the month you will have a handy little report card that you can see and determine where you may need to concentrate a little more effort. Keep it simple so that it gets done!  

3. WHO IS IN YOUR HEAD?

A popular advertisement asks, “Who’s in your wallet?”  The identity theft company that uses that moniker to get your attention has found it to be quite effective in getting people to be more cautious with their financial resources.  However, when it comes to asking the same type of question of our most valuable resource, i.e. our minds, then we need to ask ourselves – “Who’s in our heads?” 

Not surprisingly, the scientists have once again figured out that the majority of our individual thoughts are negative and a majority of them are against ourselves.  One only has to turn on the daily news to get a tsunami of incredibly negative thoughts cascading over us with unrelenting intensity and force.

New Years is a good time to start becoming conscious of who is going into your head.  One suggestion that also aligns with a growth mindset for the New Year is to consider getting an App for your phone like Audible. 

You can start filling your mind with the nurturing voices of Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson and the like.  You can also consider getting linked into various Apps for podcasts.  It is a great way to start your day as you are driving to work, regardless of your commute time.  You might just be surprised as to how your outlook and perspective shifts over time.  It is like going to the gym, except this one is for your mind!  The best part is that all the heavy lifting will be done for you – all you have to do is listen!  

4. ABUNDANCE MENTALITY – IT’S A MIND GAME!


If you are sitting around home reading this on an electronic device -, e.g. phone, tablet, computer think back to how long ago it was that this handy little device wasn’t even in existence and yet here you are owning one.  Now look up and around you and what do you see?  I’m not asking what you don’t see but what you already possess.  I am guessing that if you had to count and name everything in the room you are in that you do not have enough time left in the day to capture it all.  Not just the big stuff but all those little abundant extras.

And yet, many of us think if only I could get this one more thing [obviously not the last thing] but have you ever asked yourself – when is enough going to be enough?  Remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and not the other way around.  So, in the end what we have right now is already too much!  I’m suggesting that you take the time to really enjoy what you have and celebrate the abundance in your life!!!

I wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe, joyous and festive holiday season! 

P.S. These are practices you can include in your life year round!  Don’t wait until you are “stressed out”.  Being proactive is a great way to stay POSITIVELY HAPPĒ.