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Do you want to know the secret to a Merry ChrIstmas? I want to share five tips that have helped me throughout the years.  Let’s be real, this year has been a difficult one for many. I am well aware that I’m not alone in looking forward to a fresh start as we flip over the calendar and greet 2018.

But before we start a new year, let’s take back what’s remaining of this challenging year. In the midst of all, let’s celebrate what actually worked, and give thanks for the blessings we received

Let’s look at the glass half full, shall we? How? Here are 5 tips that always work for me:

  1. Be thankful and let’s make a gratitude list. I know, you’ve heard this one too many times. But I promise, it works! No matter how bad a situation might be, we always have something to be thankful for. Are you healthy? Do you have a job that you love? How about a place to live? Is your family nearby – or far away? Do you have someone or thing to love (pets!) and who loves you? Did you read a good book or see a great movie lately? Are you creative, have you finished a project? Did you make it through Thanksgiving or the semester or a trip to the mall without losing your mind? You see, then you have something to be thankful for!
  2. Now, look back at this year’s pictures. Check out the pictures on your phone and take time to appreciate those silly smiles, the messy hair do’s, the impromptu road trips with your dog or picnics and who doesn’t have, the selfies with the fish lips? Close your eyes and take a deep breathe. I bet you can feel the sentiments that those pictures bring to you. If we could only freeze time? I know.
  3. Do you believe in silver linings? Find them. I’m not sitting at a desk gazing out the window to a field of snow while I type this post. Nope. I’m sitting in my living room, balancing my laptop on my lap while my dog snuggles beside me and watching ‘The Crowne’. What are your silver linings this year?

Going through a tough season can be a catalyst for appreciation and gratitude — and this year has made me more thankful than ever for my family, my freedoms, and my faith. Silver linings come at the cost of some very dark clouds, but I am grateful for them nonetheless.

  1. My favorite, giving back – always! One of the most encouraging messages I’ve seen following some of this year’s disasters and painful circumstances is a call to action. No matter where you fall on all the issues that have divided our world, every one of us can reach out to others, serve others, love others. Just like Gandhi suggests, be the change you wish to see in the world instead. Now that I think about this, I need this t-shirt.

The benefit goes beyond what you give to other people, too, because not only does helping those in need combat injustices you perceive, it also helps you adjust your perspective. It gives you a bigger picture and more accurate way to gauge your own circumstances. It also gives you a sense of more control and therefore increases your overall satisfaction. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

  1. Wait, Wait… Don’t wait! For January 1st that is. It doesn’t have to be Monday to start something new. We can do that any day. The world may seem like it’s spinning off its axis some days, but we are still in control of our own choices. We get to decide how we receive news, how we process situations, how we respond to circumstances. We choose. We are our own storytellers.

Let’s be kind when we don’t have, be thankful even when it’s difficult and let’s be mindful in everything we do.

Let’s end this year with a bang and receive 2018 with open arms!

Merry Christmas!

Author of “Lost, Found, & Rewired: Mind Tools that Shift You From Stressed and Frazzled to Calm and Vital” I educate people on how the brain works and how you can get it to work for you.

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