Healthiest Holidays Ever: Gratitude, Optimism, and Peace During the Holidays (Part 4)

The Holiday Season brings many emotions with it. Some good, some lonely and sad, and many wrapped up in expectations. This year, we encourage you to make these the healthiest Holidays ever by focusing on 3: Gratitude, Optimism, and Peace during the Holidays.

With these God-given emotions and actions to guide the way, you can overcome anxiety, fear, and disappointment. You can end the year strong and healthy.

Our 4-part series has focused on both physical and mental health:

  1. Part 1: Begin in the Mind: How to Slow Down, Simplify, and Get Enough Sleep During the Holidays
  2. Part 2: What to Eat and What to Do When/If You Fall Off-Plan
  3. Part 3 (this post): Eat Healthy at Holiday Parties and Restaurants
  4. Part 4 (this post): 3 Emotions to Rule the Holidays: Gratitude, Peace, and Optimism

Today, we continue to look at how you can enjoy mental health during the Holidays.

3 Emotions to Guide: Gratitude, Optimism, and Peace During the Holidays

Gratitude:

To start, look back at the year and think about all you have for which to be grateful. Think about any loved ones, family and friends, experiences, lessons, love, and God. Meditate on the good gifts from God you’ve received.

Then, write them down. Maybe you’re keeping a Gratitude Journal as part of our Gratitude Challenge. Or, maybe, you want to do this all at once.

Focusing on gratitude is one of the best ways to end a year, celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, and move forward. Not only does it improve mental health, decrease stress and cortisol(1), it can also reduce the risk of depression, chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome and more (2).

Studies have even found that our bodies produce more disease-fighting immune cells when we are grateful and optimistic (3). That’s a gift during the Holidays!

Peace

For many, the Holidays are anything but peaceful. There’s busyness with all the extra tasks, stress with more family interaction, unmet expectations, and more.

But, if you take a step back from the rush-rush-rush, you can cultivate an environment of presence and peace during the Holidays despite your circumstances. Here are 3 steps:

  1. Pray about it. It may seem silly to pray about the Holidays when we’re expected to smile and enjoy them, but there’s really never been a better time to pray.How will it help? First, prayer releases control and give it to God. Then, it helps change your heart towards any stressful situation, even if the situation itself doesn’t change. And lastly, it allows you to focus on truth. God’s truth is that He is with you in any circumstance. That nothing is too big. And, that He will walk with you through it.
  2. Next, simplify and slow down as we discussed in” Part 1: Slow Down, Simplify, and Get Enough Sleep During the Holidays.” Only you can take control of your schedule and slow down. Some things are simply required of us. Others we take on ourselves. Consider saying “no” more to simplify the Holidays.
  3. Release expectations and instead enjoy what God gives. Many of our Holiday expectations surround our emotions about family and friends. While they are certainly a gift from God, recognize that you are only in charge of how you act and your emotion. If your happiness is tied to another’s actions, you will often be disappointed. Determine to find joy in each day, within yourself and God, this Holiday Season.

Optimism

If gratitude sums up our attitude as we look back at the year, and peace if for the present, make optimism your future.

Did you know that God has given us a simple solution to longevity and health? It’s optimism, and here’s what a dose can do for you as you look forward to the Holidays and a New Year:

In recent research, scientists have found that higher optimism scores actually equate to longer life, in both men and women. In fact, optimism was associated with living >85 years, or “exceptional longevity.” The most optimistic men and women reached exceptional longevity 50% and 70%, respectively” more than those with lower optimism.

What’s more, optimistic people tend to be healthier and happier during their lives with less depression and levels of stress.

If you are a naturally more pessimistic person, don’t worry….you can be optimistic that you can at least partly learn optimism. Studies have concluded that approximately  25% of optimism is genetic (4), leaving 75% to attitude and our choices.

In fact, studies show we can create habits of optimism. You can do this with prayer, meditation, journaling, and gratitude, even with just 2 weeks of intervention (5).

BOTTOM LINE

Choose 3 emotions as your guide: Gratitude, Optimism, and Peace during the Holidays. How about it? Do those sound like a good way to finish the year and experience your healthiest holidays ever?

This year, take charge of your emotions and health as you close out the year. God’s given you this gift.

1 Comment

  1. Tammy says:

    This is Awesome ! And
    So true 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *