Crowded shopping centers, eating too much of the wrong foods, spending money we don’t have on gifts people don’t want, feeling guilt, frustration, anxiety, irritation—all of these experiences can be just as much a part of the holiday season as Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas carols.
So how do we experience happiness during these times, and at any time of the year when we feel overloaded?
Well, first of all, happiness might not be the right word to use, especially since its root meaning comes from words that translate to “fortune” or “luck.” Winning the lottery or striking it rich may bring positive feelings, but the question is do those feelings last? And more to the point, what happens when we begin to seek happiness from sources outside of us?
Rather, the emotional goal to seek, in my opinion, should be feelings of contentment and fulfillment. Accessing this state of inner calm and acceptance is at the heart of many spiritual practices, and does not engender passivity, but rather an awareness of life and all that it presents as it relates to us and our sphere of influence.
Having a set of practices and strategies that foster this kind of emotional state can be critical as we cycle through the holiday season.
Try the following practices:
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