A Positive Attitude: Get Ready for the Holiday Season
Wow! It’s the end of the year already! And of course, that means we are entering the holiday season with all of the excitement that comes with it. The holiday season also means a lot of work — planning, organizing, shopping, cooking, traveling, socializing — it can be overwhelming, for sure.
The point of the posts for the month of December will be about how to get you in the right frame of mind for this busy holiday season.
In this post, I’ll talk about the power of a positive attitude to change your outlook on the (busy) holiday season.
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
Khalil Gibran – 1883-1931, Artist, Poet, and Writer
I read the passage above by Khalil Gibran in a Facebook group I belong to and I just thought it was perfect for today’s post. Look at what the passage is trying to teach: your attitude will affect how you look at the world and, therefore, how you live your life.
Preparing for the Holidays — or Any Stressful Situation
The winter holidays come at the end of the year – and oh! so much to do! Planning and organizing family celebrations and holiday parties, getting the house clean for company, cooking and baking holiday treats, traveling to the homes of friends and family, tying up loose ends at work if you have time off, shopping for gifts and holiday “stuff,” maintaining holiday traditions… it’s exhausting! Preparing for the holidays can get in the way of our enjoyment of the holidays!
While this time may be exhausting for some, it is exciting and filled with anticipation for others. It’s a time to get together with friends and family and celebrate what the holiday really means. It’s a time to be thankful and grateful.
You can start your holiday season off right by transforming any negative thinking you have about the “stress” and “work” of the holiday into positive thoughts.
You’ve heard of the mind-body-spirit connection; there is scientific evidence that the body reacts to negative thinking in ways that can cause harm and increase one’s vulnerability to disease. In the same way, the evidence shows that there are positive physiologic and psychologic effects from positive thinking (Wildermuth, 2017).
“Act the way you want to feel.” Gretchen Rubin, author, podcaster, speaker
Gretchen Rubin, who wrote The Happiness Project, says one of her happiness commandments is to Act how you want to Feel. So when you are feeling stressed, if you can act like you are relaxed your body will soon follow suit.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Charles Swindoll, author
Positive Attitude Reframing: Think and Act The Way You Want to Feel
Adjusting your attitude is a learned process. It takes recognizing that you feeling stressed or angry or overwhelmed and forcing yourself to listen to your inner voice as it tries to reframe the situation. Reframing is a helpful technique that flips your interpretation of- or reaction to- an event. It’s a way to relook at a situation in a more positive light.
Dr. Talya Steinberg (2012) used the common example of a glass of water filled halfway to illustrate the transformational thinking of positive reframing. Look at the picture on the right: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
The way you answer this question may give you an insight into how you typically view the world. What does your answer say about your general thoughts about everyday living? Now, what if you flip your answer — can you think about how that opposite answer could color your worldview?
The circumstances of the glass have not changed, right? But your perspective changes depending on if you think positively or negatively about the amount of water in the glass.
“Positive reframing means trying to reconsider things in a positive light, and it is a powerful way to transform your thinking.” (Steinberg, 2012, para. 1)
Michael Hyatt (2016), an author and leadership coach, also talks of reframing common situations from negative thinking to positive thinking. Michael calls this “intentionally using the language of privilege rather than duty.” Instead of saying, “I HAVE to … X” reframe that sentence to, “I GET to … X!” I love this positive framing technique and am trying to be more mindful of how I’m framing my situations.
Changing I HAVE TO to I GET TO reflects a choice and an opportunity. “We GET TO visit grandma and grandpa for the holidays!” “I GET TO prepare a meal for my family and friends.” “I GET TO care for patients who can’t be with their families on Christmas.”
When I hear myself saying I HAVE TO, I change my language to be grateful that I’m physically able and have the resources to do the things that I need to do and want to do. So – I GET TO get the house ready for company; I GET TO bake Christmas cookies for my husband and friends; I GET TO decorate my house for Christmas (something I LOVE to do anyway — it’s putting everything away in January that I dread!); I GET TO write a blog post for my website; I GET TO walk the dogs in the afternoon. Try it – it works!
I GET TO changes the conversation, and your attitude, to one of gratitude and thankfulness.
“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” Francesca Reigler
Attitude is a dynamic cognitive mechanism — it is not fixed. Therefore, when a situation gets you down you can choose how you will respond to it. The effort of responding is the same regardless of how you respond. You can respond negatively or positively to a situation — each will affect your mental state and physiologic responses. So Choose Wisely!
So positively frame your attitude about the work you have to do to prepare for the holidays into that of gratitude and thanksgiving for all of your gifts that you can celebrate and share this holiday.
Think Positively and get ready to enjoy the holiday season!
Other Quotes About Attitude
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill, American Author
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill, British Statesman
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”
Hyatt, M. (2016, February 26). How a small shift in your vocabulary can instantly change your attitude [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://michaelhyatt.com/how-a-shift-in-your-vocabulary-can-instantly-change-your-attitude/
Steinberg, T. (2012, September 25). “Positive reframing” as optimistic thinking [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-face-adversity/201209/positive-reframing-optimistic-thinking
Wildermuth, E. (2017, November 21). Inside the surprising new science of gratitude: 5 proven benefits of thankfulness to keep you motivated all year long [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://michaelhyatt.com/the-science-of-thankfulness/