The holidays are a time when many people throw their rules aside and end up with lots of overdoing: too much food, too much booze or drugs, putting money on credit cards for gifts and travel and trying to cram more into your days than the space-time continuum allows. Layer on top of that all the COVID hell and you’ve easily got a recipe for feeling like crap come January 2nd.
2020 has been a hell of a year thus far so it might feel like it’s OK to just give up and give in to all the over-indulging this holiday season. You might be thinking, “I deserve to let loose.” Maybe you’re just so tired you don’t feel like you’ve got it in you to be grounded and balanced in these last few months of 2020.
So, I’m here to be your cheerleader today and give you an easy 3-step plan to create a holiday season of joy and serenity. By the time you ring in 2021, you’ll have built positive momentum and feel motivated to keep going. You won’t need to make any resolutions (they fail the vast majority of the time anyway) because you’ll already be feeling great!
When I talk about being grounded and balanced, I’m really talking about what I preach all the time: Being fully aware and conscious in your moments. I’m talking about feeling centered in yourself so you can listen to your inner guidance system and intuition. You’ll take action with confidence and clarity.
Here’s the best part. When you’re grounded and balanced, you’re in control of you. Yup. Instead of being on autopilot and just reacting to what happens around you, you are the one setting the tone. You’re not influenced by other people’s thoughts and ideas. Instead, you hear suggestions or criticisms and just let them roll off your back. You stop judging yourself and feeling so self-conscious.
What are the benefits of this?
- You’ll be able to consistently come from loved-based emotions like appreciation, patience, kindness and joy so you’ll feel more positive day-to-day
- You’ll be able to act, not react, in those moments when your dad is getting on your last nerve
- Overwhelm and reactivity become a thing of the past
So, what do you have to do to stay grounded and balanced this holiday season? Follow my 3-step plan!
Step 1: You’re going to decide right now to be happy.
Let me first say that when I talk about “happiness” I’m talking about experiencing positive emotions most the time (not all the time – that’s not life). I’m talking about having a positive mood overall and feeling optimistic about the future. You could replace the word happiness with contentment, satisfaction, flourishing or whatever floats your boat. I’m going to use the word happy to mean all those things.
When it comes to happiness, you’re likely not achieving it consistently because you’re doing it ass-backwards (I say with love). You either do things and set goals thinking you’ll be happy on the other side. “If I get this promotion, I’m going to be so happy!” “If I could just find a partner, then my life would be great.” Or, you make your happiness contingent on things outside of yourself that you can’t control: “If my parents can just get along, then Thanksgiving dinner will be great!”
You want to lose weight, save money, repair your relationship, get a new job, buy that new house or start exercising so you can be happier. But you’ve got it backwards. Being happy first will actually get you those things.
In case you’re thinking this is some law of attraction thing, I need to let you know this is based on research. In a meta-analysis of just about every scientific study on happiness (over 200 studies on 275,000 people worldwide) researchers found that happiness leads to success in nearly every domain including your health, work, friends, relationships, your energy level and even your creativity.
In other words, when you’re happy your health improves, your more productive at work, you’re more resilient, you’ve got better relationships and you’ve got more energy.
Now, I’m not talking about “putting on a happy face” or just thinking positive. I’m talking about proven principles to change your life. I’m talking about the hard science of neuroplasticity which is your brain’s ability to rewire itself based on what you focus on and practice.
I’ve talked before about one of the more famous studies showing how we can literally change our brain’s hardwiring. It was a study of London cabbies. The streets in London aren’t based on a nice grid system like NYC but are a crazy maze that’s extremely hard to learn and navigate. It’s so complicated that prospective cabbies have to take a test called “The Knowledge” before they’re licensed. When they studied the brains of experienced cab drivers they found that their brains had a significantly larger hippocampus, which is the part of the brain devoted to spatial memory.
Your ability to rewire and change your brain is supported by rigorous research in neuroscience. It’s a fact. Your brain changes by what you focus on and it doesn’t have to take years, it can happen in a matter of days. Knowing this, think about the changes you could make over these next few weeks. Not only can you have a grounded and balanced holiday season but you’ll also enter 2021 feeling grounded, balanced and happy.
Barbara Fredrickson, one of the eminent happiness researchers describes the 10 most common positive emotions as: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. These are the emotions I want you to feel the most.
Study after study shows that these emotions related to happiness precede you succeeding and thriving.
This isn’t about a big goal to “be happy” but, rather, to focus on how you feel every single day. How you feel, day to day, is the most important thing in your life. Feeling grounded and balanced come easily from this place.
Just recently I spoke to you about the importance of planning your feelings, just like you plan everything else in your life. I’m going to remind you right now that planning your feelings is WAY more important than planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner or Channukah Zoom party. Because you and I both know that, even if everything goes off without a hitch, if you don’t feel good, it really doesn’t matter.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time to check out Intention Chunking so you can learn to calibrate to a higher vibration and higher emotional state. It’s important to set your intention throughout the day but, at the very least, set your intention first thing in the morning.
And here’s the action tip I want you to incorporate. Every time you sit down to a meal, I want you to set intention first. Whenever possible, do this out loud. Go around the table with whoever you’re with and ask them to set an intention for this meal. If they don’t understand that word, ask them to say what their wishes are for the meal. How would they like it to go? Do they want to be a great listener, laugh a lot, stay in the moment of feeling grateful?
By the way, this is WAY better to do than to all go around the table saying what you’re grateful for. When you do that, you’re often not in the moment and it doesn’t bring any positive momentum to the meal. However, when you all say what you intend or wish for this meal right now, it’ll change the energy completely!
Step 2: Wake up 5 minutes early every day
If you already have a morning practice, then you might not need to wake up any earlier but for most folks who say things like “I’m not a morning person” or “I can’t do stuff in the morning” I call BULLSHIT! Enough with that victim crap. It’s time to set the tone for each and every day and you’ve got to do that first thing.
As I’ve mentioned before, when you wake up in the morning you are the king or queen of your momentum. First thing, right when you open your eyes, those first thoughts and what you do with that time are crucial in setting up positive momentum for your day.
With this 5 minutes, I want you to sit in stillness and meditate. Now, hear me out! I’m asking for 5 damn minutes and I’m going to be all Jewish-mother-bossy right now and tell you that you’ve just got to do this because it’s seriously going to change your life and will make all that I’m teaching you SO MUCH EASIER!
I’m also going to hold your hand as you begin this process. If you don’t meditate or find it really hard, you can get my free Meditation Starter Kit, which includes a track you can listen to with my melodious voice holding your hand through a 3-minute meditation. Once you get comfortable with that, we can move you on to the whole 5 minutes (and I know you’re going to like it so much that you’ll eventually get to the 15 minutes a day I recommend).
You want to feel grounded and balanced this holiday season? This is the best bang for your buck there is! Studies show that right after you meditate, you’ll experience feelings of contentment and calm. In addition, meditation can permanently rewire your brain to raise your feelings of happiness and lower your stress.
Step 3: Ask More Than You State
One of the big obstacles to staying grounded and balanced is other people. Mainly, the crap they say to us that drives us crazy. When you react with any statement, you end up in an argument, stand-off, or with tension.
The key is to ask questions. Whenever you’re ready to come back with something, ask a question instead.
Mom helpfully says, “Do you really think you need a second helping?” Instead of a nasty retort or silently stewing, you can take a breath and ask her something: “Can I ask why you said that to me?” or “How do you think it makes me feel when you say something like that to me?”
Husband snapping at you for no apparent reason? Instead of the usual, “I don’t appreciate you taking out your bad mood on me!” Take a breath and ask a question: “Is there anything I could do for you right now to help make your day easier?” “Can I give you a hug?” “Is there anything bothering you that you’d like to talk about?”
Ask questions everywhere. When your kid asks if they can have a snack 30 minutes before the big Thanksgiving dinner, ask a question. “What do you think I’m going to say to that?” or “Hmmm, what do you think?”
When you ask a question, it uses a different part of your brain which puts in a pause button and helps you stay grounded. When you ask a question, you’re literally acting, not reacting.
One of the most difficult things in relationships is to find ways to support one another without ‘SAC’ing your relationship which means: making Suggestions, offering Advice, or giving Criticism. Asking a question instead of making a statement is a way to connect. It brings people into the present moment and gets them off autopilot. It prompts feelings and dialogue.
Most importantly, it will help you stay grounded and balanced, instead of reactive and resentful.
There’s almost nothing better for you than taking a few minutes each day to set your day on the right track! You want to start off on your best foot, so I’ve created this Meditation Starter Kit. You just need 3 minutes to start your day – that’s it! Just 3 minutes to start the positive momentum of a great day!