Christmas can bring up all sorts of feelings for people. Some of us are reminded of happy childhoods and fun times spent with families. For others, Christmas was more difficult, given when our family got together, they didn’t always get along. Then there are people who may feel lonely at Christmas, with the festive music piped around department stores just reminding them of this fact.
So whilst some of us may be looking forward to this coming Christmas season, others will be carrying the difficult memories from the past. This has the potential to cloud our perception of this new Christmas period, and reduce any enjoyment we may have. Because if we are not careful, the past can have a strong influence on the present, as well as our future.
Now, it is not our place to tell you how you should feel over the Christmas break. Your history and your feelings are yours, and we have not lived in your shoes. But we do want everyone, ourselves included, to try and make the best of every new day, no matter what has happened in life. It is the reason we started Happy Ground, and something we firmly believe is possible for everyone. Because although it is difficult for some people to accept, we do have a lot of control over our own happiness, and there’s plenty of research and examples from people’s lives to prove it.
So what can you do to make the most of this coming Christmas break? Well the list is potentially enormous, but here are a few suggestions from us, which we hope you can apply when Christmas arrives.
1. Try to relax
Christmas day and the build-up to Christmas day can be busy and exhausting. Many of us rush around the shops, prepare meals, send out Christmas cards, clean, tidy and put up the trees and decorations. And we plan everything to a tee, trying to make sure it all goes smoothly. For this reason, Christmas can be a very stressful time.
This Christmas, try to relax more. The easiest way to do this is to live each moment fully, and be as present as you can. Try not to let your mind take you to the future or the past, as this is can be where much of our anxiety and regrets reside. By living in the present you can reduce your stress and ensure that you enjoy every moment. It is also good to remember that everything does not have to go perfectly for you and everyone else to have a great time. What people want at Christmas is for you to be with them, fully. That’s your real job, not the Christmas dinner.
2. Forgive everyone you need to forgive
Nothing frees us from the past more than forgiveness. If you have people to forgive in your life, then please forgive them. This doesn’t mean you have to forget what has happened, but if you can let go of the past and accept that like you, others make mistakes, then you have a much better chance of enjoying the company of everyone you meet over the Christmas period.
3. Write a gratitude list
To get yourself in a positive mindset for Christmas day, you’ll need to be as grateful as you can for all the good things in your life. So if you are not doing this already, get yourself a pen and paper, and be sure to start writing down every night before bed, the things you are grateful for in your life. At the very least, do this on Christmas eve so you’re in a great mindset for the next day.
4. Look after yourself
This is particularly for those of you who will be alone this Christmas break. Please look after yourself. Please pamper yourself. Please contact everyone who is important to you. And please remember that being alone does not mean you can’t have a fabulous day. Take the opportunity to celebrate you, with you.
5. Don’t forget to smile
Finally, please remember that a smile is the best thing you can bring for yourself and others this Christmas. So do something to create smiles. If the smiles are particularly scarce then you may have to create them. Have a dance, watch a funny film or read a funny book. My (Dani’s) Dad plays silly practical jokes when the family are together. For example one year he attached some fishing line to a snake and threaded it round trees and through the dining room window, and then when we were all sat having dinner he pulled the snake across the garden until someone noticed. He’s a bit of a silly bugger really but he always makes us laugh.
When we smile it makes us happy and it makes others happy as well. And happiness is really all that matters.
Have a wonderful festive season,
Dani and Ivan xx