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How to Have More Laughter and Less Stress through the Season

For many people, the holiday season is hard. It’s a time that can so easily bring up past family issues, feelings of loneliness, and sadness. These feelings, if you’re a recovering addict, can bring up cravings to use and even relapse. Yet, whether you’re in recovery or not, there are ways to keep your mood light and not allow the past or your feelings get the best of you.

Look for what you love in your family and friends. We are all good at seeing what we don’t like in others. It’s easy to be judgmental, critical, or negative, especially if you’ve been hurt by your family or friends in the past. However, it takes conscious effort to look for what you love. What do you appreciate about your family? What are the wonderful traits of your friends? Consciously looking for what you love or appreciate in others can keep you from remembering the past. It can keep you from so easily falling back into those negative thinking patterns.

Push the reset button. In a speech Jim Carrey gave to a group of 2014 graduates, he talked about he constantly pushes the reset button. No matter what has gone on in the past, no matter what is going on in the present, regardless of his initial feelings or thoughts about something, he pushes the reset button and starts over. He lets life start anew with a simple choice. With this alone, we can drop the negativity, despair, feelings of victimization, and regret. Push the reset button and start over!

Get excited about what’s in your life. Another very common thinking pattern is to worry about what you don’t have. It’s easy to keep your attention on what’s lacking in your life. Ask yourself what are the things you do have? Do you have family, friends, a healthy body, a job, a career, and/or a car to be grateful for? Do you have a good therapist, sobriety under your belt, and/or a community of people that support you? Take a few minutes and put your attention on what you have and all the way that those things support your life.

Take a look at what’s possible. If you’re not where you’re want to be in your life, explore the possibilities. Similar to seeing what’s missing or lacking in your life, it’s easy to let your attention fall on what you don’t like in your life. However, you can make the conscious choice to explore what’s possible. Even if you’re homeless, there are always options. In fact, the founder of Paul Mitchell hair products was once homeless. He used the power of his imagination, determination, and hard work to become a multi millionaire.

These are some ways to stay on the positive side of life during a time of year when stress is high. It’s common to feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained when under stress. Yet, all of us can make the choice to see the good in others, let go of the past, and look for the exciting possibilities in life.

 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.