holidays women

Staying Happy Through the Holidays

Practice the power of presence and gratitude.

By Dr. James Rouse

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Do you ever feel lost during the holidays? You’re not alone. To help you navigate the season and mindfully exit from the stress express, here are three ways to stay happy, whole and present during the festivities.

Be Present

According to Harvard researchers, the average American is present (or in the moment) only 50 percent of the time. Not being present is a prime driver for unhappiness. So play the Equanimity Game, which I learned while studying meditation. Sit quietly, and focus on being in the moment. When your mind drifts to things like past regrets or future fear, notice this and gently guide yourself back to the moment. Practice this anywhere and anytime you feel like you are losing your self and the “spirit” of the holidays.

Practice Gratitude

This can affect the body in a cool way. Research on gratitude from University of California, Davis, shows that people who practice daily gratitude have similar qualities to people who exercise daily; they tend to sleep well, crave sugar less and be more successful at work. I play a fun game when I walk through a doorway, I say “thank you” under my breath. Whether I’m walking into a meeting or simply walking into my house, it brings me to a positive state of mind. On average, we walk through 180–260 doorways a day, so can you imagine the effect of saying “thank you” that many times a day?

Favor Contribution over Accumulation

It’s easy to get in an accumulation mindset around the holidays, so focus on being a beneficial presence to everyone around you. It starts with practicing presence and gratitude, and includes contributions like being the first to smile, making eye contact and choosing to forgive. If you find yourself suffering from “not enough-ness,” simply allow the gifts of presence, kindness and love be your contribution and, with that, you will accumulate greater peace with yourself and with those around you.

james-rouseDr. James Rouse has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and is an inspirational speaker, personal coach, author and cofounder of Skoop, a line of powdered superfoods. 

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