Our wish is that you remember to take time for yourself during the holidays. Maybe you can take a walk and enjoy the beauty of the season. For some even a walk in the mall can be uplifting. Promise yourself that you will schedule some quality time to do things you enjoy!
Finding the Joy
As the holidays come round, inevitably hassles increase — exponentially. But just imagine you could handle every problem that comes your way. Long lines at the post office, delayed flights, family squabbles, illness — no matter the difficulty, imagine you could grit your teeth and overcome it. In the face of adversity, you could resolve every fear, and relieve any pain or stress.
Surely you’d be happy then, right? Not necessarily. According to psychological research, being able to cope with negative events has little to do with being able to find joy in positive ones. In other words, just because you’re not down doesn’t mean you’re up. And just because good things happen doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy or appreciate them. Rather, finding joy is both an art and a science, and we can learn to excel at it.
A good place to begin? Try these four tips to enhance savoring the season:
1. Share your good feelings with others
Whether you’re clearing the table with family or close friends or walking through a meadow with your sweetheart, tell the person with you what you appreciate about the moment. Sharing is the strongest predictor of the level of enjoyment someone feels. In fact, studies of people’s reactions to positive life events have found that those who share their positive feelings with friends have higher levels of overall happiness than people who do not share their feelings.
2. Take a mental picture
You’re playing a rowdy game of Monopoly with your family. Pause for a moment and consciously take note of specific features you want to remember later: Aunt Mimi spewing milk at a joke, Grandma sneaking bits of food to the dog, or Cousin Leo getting sent to jail — without collecting $200. When building memories, happy people search for, notice, and highlight the things they find most enjoyable. In the process, they form clearer and more vivid memories they can more easily recall and share with others in the future.
3. Congratulate yourself
Your boss raves about your work in an important meeting—tell yourself how impressive this is, and remind yourself how long you have waited for this to happen. This style of savoring involves “patting yourself on the back” mentally and exalting in the warm glow of pride associated with a positive outcome.
4. Sharpen your sensory perceptions.
Take a bite of your favorite dessert. Close your eyes to block out visual distractions and concentrate on the rich taste to intensify the flavor. Sometimes competing sights, sounds, or smells can interrupt the flow of positive feelings and dampen savoring. In these cases, blocking out distractions can enhance savoring by sharpening your focus of attention on the pleasure itself.
Wishing you the best of health and a holiday season blessed with love and laughter (the best medicine of all!)
Founder and Executive Director
Fibromyalgia Coalition International
P. S. Mark Your Date Book for Nov. 14-15, 2014!!
The Fibromyalgia Coalition International’s 14th Annual Conference/Health and Healing Retreat will be held at the magnificent Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
Registration begins in January 2014. Watch for further information on our website and in our quarterly Fibromyalgia Solutions magazine.
“Learning is not obtained by choice; it must be sought with ardor and attended with diligence.” ~ Abigail Adams