Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas, by choice

Choosing Happiness During the Holidays – Inspiration for the Holiday Season
Suggested Reading: Let go and Let God

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Guest Article by Maggie TerryViale
Copyright, Maggie TerryViale, reprinted by permission

Holiday Cheer or Holiday Depression. It’s your choice.

Well, now you’re thinking, yeah, right, how can it be my choice when this happened, and that happened or I’m all alone in a big city? Or my dog died, my aunt has cancer, and my checking account is in the red? Or it’s the anniversary of a friend’s death? Or there’s war, poverty and of course starving children?

How can I be cheerful, happy, or even pretend to put a smile on my face when so many things are wrong in the world?

Let me tell you a little secret. You can but it may have to be a conscious choice on your part.

Humor me, just for a minute, and follow this analogy: What if you want to lose 10, 20, 50 or even 100 lb.? Clearly it makes sense that it is a conscious choice and usually one that needs to be reaffirmed daily if not several times a day.

How can you lose weight when that yummy dark chocolate forest cake is screaming at you, eat me … not just a little bite, but the whole darn thing. Don’t you need to make a choice? Do I really want to fit back into those skinny jeans or that polo shirt lingering in the back of my closet? Sometimes the yummy desert wins. Sometimes the chocolate cake disappears, bite by tasty bite, and the skinny jeans get thrown into the trash with a wave of depression. That’s right, you didn’t want them anyway. Or did you?

So it is with happiness. Especially this time of year, it’s easy for depression to slip in. Bite by bite your holiday cheer may evaporate like the cake in your refrig. No worries, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Over and over declare, even scream at the top of your lungs, I deserve to be happy.

I believe we are not all born happy, in fact maybe very few of us are. It is something cultivated and learned. Take note of what triggers your joy. What makes your heart sing? What gives you energy? And what friends drain you and what friends always lift your spirits.

Learn if splurging on a bouquet of bright yellow sunflowers makes you smile. Or maybe it’s helping others by volunteering at a local organization that turns your mood around. Perhaps a church or synagogue attendance is helpful to you. What about a short walk, rain or no rain, and enjoying the serenity of nature? Gaze at the golden leaves lingering on a tree, a sunset, or the misty clouds hugging a hill covered with majestic oak trees. Learn what turns a frown upside down.

Yes, try it. Smile! Listen to the laughter of a child playing, pet a cute dog and say hello to its owner, watch a funny movie or an old I Love Lucy rerun, play a game of cards, garden, meditate.

The idea is, if you choose it, any number of things can lead you down the path of holiday cheer. Everyone has the opportunity to be appreciative for blessings in their life. What are the blessings in your life? Write them down.

The point is we are all individuals and what works for one person may or may not work for you. Be appreciative, and learn what triggers your unique inner joy. Make a list. Yes, right now and keep it handy. Do several things on your list everyday. Decide to be joyful. Know that you deserve it!

Choose it. Claim it. Know that you deserve happiness, over this holiday season and always. Declare it over and over until you live it. Skinny jeans or not, happiness is your choice.

Maggie TerryViale has returned to her native Northern California after living in Arizona for 20 years. She holds an MFA in studio art and is a painter who has exhibited national.

She is the creator and co-author of Happiness Awaits You! A collection of 68 true stories by 44 authors. For more information: www.HappinessAwaitsYou.info and www.HopeHealingHands.com.

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