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10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

Marketing specialists were onto something when they started using positive words and symbols in their advertisements and logos. We all need little reminders sometimes. Jeep and LG got it right with their Life is Good line of phones, t-shirts, caps, tire covers and everyday products. New England even hosts a Life is Good Company who sells good vibes along with their creative line of apparel, home, and pet products.

Is all this marketing really going to keep your spirits up? Maybe not. That’s where I come in. Having been down on myself in the past, suffered from anxiety, and even clinically depressed, I am determined to share the lifelines that saved me from my own pity party. The holiday season is wrought with opportunities to celebrate, but when you really don’t feel it, all the Christmas carols in the world won’t help (they might, though). You need real ways to keep from letting everyone else’s happiness magnify your lack of it.

Here are 10 real ways to recapture that positive spirit this season (and all year long):

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1. Count your blessings

Seriously. Life, health, a home, clothing, food and family are blessings. Hopefully, you have some of these; if not, keep counting. Don’t stop until you can’t think of any more! Write them down so you don’t forget and add to the list regularly.

2. Have a pity party

I thought we were getting away from this, you’re thinking. Yeah, but allowing yourself five or ten minutes (no more) to feel bad is okay, but then move on to something else. Bad things do happen, but they do not need to define us or our lives.

3. Get busy

Don’t sit around after your pity party. Do your daily activities and you can feel accomplished at least in those things. Let others, like your kids, spouse or your live-in Au Pair or nanny, take some of the work off your list, when reasonable.

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4. Do something for someone else

You don’t have to donate a million dollars or every spare minute of your time. Try to do something nice for someone every day, even if it is just opening the door for them, picking up something they drop, or just smiling and looking in their eyes.

5. Do yourself a favor

You deserve to do something nice for yourself, whether it be getting a manicure, haircut or a small, special purchase, do it. Don’t break the bank, but treat yourself right, with love and respect.

6. Write a letter or make a phone call

It can be a letter or call to someone you’ve been meaning to contact, an old friend or even a letter to yourself. Share your current life and inquire about theirs.

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7. Go to church

The walls will not fall down. Sometimes it is nice to sit and listen to a choir or a sermon to put things into perspective, no matter your religion. Try a candlelight service or midnight mass.

8. Watch the news

You’re thinking, has she lost it? That can be depressing, but here’s the catch: your life isn’t that bad. Compared to the terrible events that make the news, your life might seem more simple and not so bad after all. The old adage, “it could always be worse”, is true. You likely have lots to be positive about in your life.

9. Go for a walk

Now that the weather is not as nice, daily walks are harder to accomplish, but the fresh air will do you wonders, not to mention the beautiful sights and sounds you may discover in the fall and winter.

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10. Embrace the season

Sing or listen to carols, decorate your house or room and remember the reason for the season. The entire world is remembering times and promises of old. Share with family and friends by asking about their happiest times and favorite childhood memories. It will be over soon, with a new year full of new opportunities for you.

If you try all of these and still can’t see a reason that life is good, maybe it’s a good time to talk to someone about how you feel. Emotions can drive our actions, therefore deserve great respect and our attention. Our feelings can change so quickly, but while we are experiencing them, they are all-consuming. Remember that you are not alone, even when it feels that way. Your community likely has resources as well. Reach out to your doctor or find one to help. Even if you don’t believe me right now, I promise you that life is worth living every day and things do get better.

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Joan Lowell

Educator, Writer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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