Holiday stress calls for an attitude adjustment

Holiday stress calls for an attitude adjustment
Photo credit:USA Today

Many of us find the holidays to be particularly stressful, but the good news is that you can change your attitude to enjoy the present more. In the new book, "The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living", author Amit Sood offers a plan to help you reduce stress.

Sood says that hectic schedules,lack of sleep, and setting high expectations for the holidays are things that cause of us to feel on-edge. Because that stress can lead to bigger problems over time, Sood offers a few tips to help develop an “attitude of gratitude” that will help you stay calm and enjoy the company you keep.

The professor of medicine from Mayo Clinic says that we tend to focus on negative thoughts, so we need to think more intentionally. Sood recommends telling yourself the following:

“I can have intentional positive thoughts and nurturing emotions. Or I can have spontaneous unhealthy thoughts and negative emotions. The choice is up to me.”

Sood also says it can help to greet loved ones as if you haven’t seen them in a long time.

“Remember you have finite time with your loved ones so temper the impulse to tell them what’s wrong with them, at least for the first 10 minutes when you are together. You can enjoy someone or you can improve them, but you can’t do both,” Sood advises.

Sood offers five principles to help you focus on the positive, including gratitude, which you can achieve by thinking about at least five people each day who have made a positive impact on your life. Be compassionate to others and accept that some situations are out of your control. Having a higher meaning, or an appreciation for your place in this world, and practicing forgiveness, are also key. Sood guarantees that these methods will help you achieve greater happiness.

He promises:

“You will save several hours a day because your mind won’t wander as much. You’ll have better sleep, better relationships. You’ll have more energy at the end of the day. You will connect with your life better. You’ll be more fully alive.”

USA Today 12/15/13

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