Does the season for giving bring you joy? Or is it the true meaning of the holidays? Whatever the reason, it is important to find joy and have a positive mindset, especially during the stressful holiday season.
How we think has a direct effect on the brain and how we operate. There is science behind it. It’s the mind, body connection. When you send positive messages from your brain, the message travels throughout your body.
“We have the power to do that,” says Andrea Philleo, Licensed Social Worker and Instructor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. “It tends to shift the “me” focus to bigger things, like relationships. We can change the mindset of how we think about ourselves and our lives.”
And Philleo says when we change our mindset to “positive thinking” it allows us to be more grounded and able to feel happy for longer. Even during the holidays.
If you’re the one who is guilty because you aren’t more positive when you feel so many people are worse off than you, Philleo says you’re not alone.
“Being happy, positive, it’s a societal demand, but it’s hard.” Says Philleo. “You know people have it worse off than you so you feel guilt for not being more grateful.”
There are ways to get out of that funk.
Philleo says it’s important to have something in your back pocket, your go-to for when you’re not in a good state of mind. It should be something that can pretty quickly make you feel better.
One example: thinking of something bigger than yourself. Philleo says that gets you out of your own head and puts things back in perspective. That could be something you like to do, a book you’re reading, even thinking about someone else you care about.
Another example: give or receive a hug. Philleo says this actually triggers the neurons that release “happy hormones.” It also activates feelings of connection.
A few more examples: basic meditation, exercise and a healthy diet.
“Figure out what works for you. Take baby steps and focus on that,” says Philleo. “Put the power back in your hands.”
If you feel you might need more help, take one Mental Health Colorado’s screening tests. There are 9 confidential, 5 minute tests. You will also find resources on the page. Go to: mentalhealthcolorado.org/screenings or call or call 720-208-2220.