A dear and wise woman friend, Fiamma, encouraged me to welcome and acknowledge my fears and feelings, and then disengage and be in and enjoy the present moment as that is all we have.
In addition, reading compelling research showing the health benefits of giving, enabled me to turn my attention to helping others.
According to Stephen G. Post, Phd, in the 2014 Biennial Scientific Report on Health, Happiness, Longevity, and Helping Others, “The key solution to the problem of unhappiness in 2014 remains the same – contribute to the lives of others and as a by-product or side-effect, you are very likely to experience happiness, health, and live a bit longer.”
When I changed my focus from one of despair, frustration, and fear to contributing to others, I felt better.
How can we feel better and build resilience during these challenging times this holiday season especially when we may eat and drink too much, and not get enough exercise or sleep?
A. Try and follow the Don’t Mess with Stress!ᵀᴹ core principles:
- D—Diet—to help buffer the holiday eating, add an extra green or other non-startchy vegetable each day. Drink more water to prevent dehydration in these drier winter months.
- M–Meditate and reflect
- W–Walk, Exercise, Move
- S–Sleep—aim for at least 7 to 8 hours per night and bedtime before midnight.
Becoming more mindful and aware of our thoughts and our actions may help us eat one less sweet or have one less drink.
And if you overdo it, accept it, enjoy it, don’t punish yourself, and tell yourself you will do better next time.
B. Think Contribution, Kindness, Gratitude
If you find yourself thinking negatively, catch yourself, and quickly pivot to do one or more of the following things:
- If you are alone, either say aloud or write down three things you are grateful for and feel the gratitude in your mind and body
- Smile at someone.
- Give a compliment to someone. Make someone’s day. Watch them smile. And feel how good it is to make another feel good!
- Show kindness to someone even to a stranger. Watch that person light up with gratitude.
Remember—by shifting our perspective in a positive direction, we are able to alter our physiology and feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally!
Have a beautiful holiday and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and abundant New Year!
With warmth and gratitude,