Keeping a Truly Happy Mind During the HolidaysAs a child, I never understood how anyone could be blue during the holiday season. Shouldn’t everyone be inherently happy? I think of all the things that symbolized “happy holidays” to me… the smell of fire place, music, lights, snow… All those things, so simple, meant happiness to me. But as you grow up, you realize that the holidays can be lonely for most people or a time where they think of friends and loved ones that have passed. The holiday season is can really be anything but joyous if you let what you no longer have get the best of you. What we have to remember during this time, is that happiness is a frame of mind.

A couple years ago, I spent my first Christmas “alone”. I had just started a new job at the end of November and there was no way I was requesting off to go back home to New Jersey. So, I decorated my California apartment and prepared to spend the holiday with a friend of mine that also wasn’t venturing back east. We went to a midnight screening of Les Miserables and then the next day saw Django Unchained. It was our own transplant Christmas. Truth be told, It was strange, as it was in no way tradition to A. be alone or B. go to the movies, but it worked for us. It was a happy holiday for sure. We didn’t focus on what was missing or different, we focused on the now and how we were going to make our holiday fun. We brought happiness to each other.

It’s so much easier to give into sadness around the holidays when there are certain people that can’t be around the dinner table with you. Instead of thinking about the loss, think about how those people are always with you in memory. Even if they haven’t passed on, it’s so much better to remember fun stories or feelings of love, than it is to focus on a void. This takes some brain reprogramming, but it starts with gratitude for what you have at this very moment. Nothing will ever BE perfect, but if you think something is perfect it will be. Little Susie didn’t make it home this year? Don’t be sad over Susie, be happy with the fact that there are other people around you and you have air in your lungs. Adapt. I’m sure little Susie is going to catch a midnight movie and eat way too many cookies with friends. Make the best of it.

Lastly, think about the nostalgic things that bring you happiness around this time of year and how you can create new traditions. Change is eminent. Each day is different and each holiday will be different. Keep close to your heart what you can and learn to bring in new happiness each year. You can combat the holiday blues if you change your perspective on what the holidays mean to you. Holidays for me have grown into a time of doing good for my fellow woman {and man}. Can I donate money and clothes to those in need? Can I volunteer my time for something good? At the end of the day, I know my life is changing and the holidays will inevitably change with it. Work may keep me on the west coast or holidays will have to be spent with different families or less family. All I know it that every holiday season I am happy because I choose to be. I acknowledge the spirit of giving and focus on what I have.