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Western Reserve Psychological Associates, Inc.Empowering change for over 40 years
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Suggestions for Creating a Happier Holiday

Sit quietly for a minute or two and recall a pleasant holiday season you would like to repeat or recreate. What particular elements made it so enjoyable? For example, is it the activities, people, pace, priorities, important values incorporated into it, your attitude and expectations or other qualities?

Recall very briefly a holiday that wasn't so nice.

Now compare the two. What's the difference that makes the difference? Be specific.

If you feel a little stuck or have never had an enjoyable holiday, then imagine how a friend or relative (or even Oprah) would celebrate a better one even if they were in circumstances similar to yours. What would they appear to be feeling? What would they be thinking or preparing? What would they avoid and what would their beliefs and priorities be? Exchange places with that person and experience doing it their way. Now, step into yourself again, bringing all those new ways of being with you. Add some of your own creativity as well and feel this whole new experience.

How can you recreate the desirable components for this year's holidays and avoid the less desirable ones?

What obstacles do you anticipate? What resources do you already have to get past the obstacles?

What is one step you can take right now to make this happier holiday become a reality?

For the next minute or two, imagine yourself already doing this and experience the good feeling that comes with starting to make this desirable change.

This guided imagery can help many of you move toward a happier holiday season. If you have holiday issues from the past that remain a problem, you might want to contact a mental health professional for further help.

Carole P. Smith, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist

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