Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! I hope this is a fun and exciting day that will bring Joy and Happiness as we celebrate with our families.

One of Santa's little helpers

This photo was from the blog Life and Times of the Urban Tiger: http://theurbantiger.wordpress.com

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Motivational Quote: Happiness

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

The question is: “How happy will you choose to be this holiday season?”

Patience is a Virtue… Especially when Christmas Shopping

To all those shoppers who are rushing out to the stores to finish their shopping, scrambling to find an empty parking spot and then fighting the crowds to pick up the perfect gift and then waiting in long checkout lines to make your purchases.

Here are some keys to getting through the week-before Christmas shopping experience alive and with your dignity intact.

Preperation: Spend sometime before hand making a wish list of gifts you are looking for. If you go into the mall without a list, waiting for inspiration to hit you… it may never come. And you and the recipient of the gift may be disappointed.

Parking: Immediately, drive to the far reaches of the parking lot, park your car and walk. In many cases this will actually save you time and frustration. Instead of the endless driving that many shoppers do in trying to find the empty spot up close.

Patience: “Patience is something you admire in the drive behind you, but not in the one ahead.” -Bill McGlashen

Remember that most of the people at the Mall this week will be in the same boat. They are feeling the stress and frustration levels are heightened. This has been the cause of many embarrasing disputes between total strangers.

Politeness: You have the ability to affect the store clerks and your fellow shoppers in a positive way by remaining polite and courteous. That attitude and behaviour can help make it a better experience for all.

Happy Holidays

Feeling Holiday Stress? Read on

As many people know the Holidays can be a very busy and stressful time.

The following article was written by a friend of mine, Julie Christiansen will help you get through this stressful time.

Julie Christiansen, http://www.angersolution.com is the author of many books on Anger Solution and Stress relief.

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Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful… Yes, that sounds very romantic and idealistic in the lyrics of a song, but the truth is that often, while the weather outside might indeed be frightful, the climate indoors when families come together is not much better.

I don’t know why exactly, but I have heard it over and over again that the holidays seem to bring out the worst in some families. Here are jus some of the things my clients and customers have relayed to me about holiday gatherings – and I’m not making this stuff up:

  • I hold my anger in all year until right about Christmas time – and then when the whole family gets together, usually someone says something that is like, “the last straw”, and I just explode! I lambaste the whole family and then I’m good for another year.
  • Every time our family gets together, it always becomes a contest about who was treated the worst, who had the most unhappy childhood, and who was daddy’s favourite.
  • I hate family get togethers – my brother always says something unsavoury or rude, and it just ruins the whole thing!
  • I would rather spend Christmas on the other side of the world, alone – than spend it with my family. They make me feel so unloved and unwanted.

That’s pretty depressing, isn’t it! Yet, a vast majority of people reading this can relate, and may even be nodding their heads in agreement with some of the above statements! So – how do we get through the holidays unscathed? Here are some tips for surviving holiday stress and beating holiday anger – the Anger Solutions way.

  1. Remember the reason for the season. The holidays are not about presents. They are not about airing family grievances. They are not even about the turkey and the trimmings. The holidays are about honouring your faith, and spending quality time with the ones that you love as you celebrate. Keep your focus on the reason why your family is coming together, rather than all the horrid memories of Christmases past.
  2. Consider your desired outcomes. We teach this until we’re blue in the face with Anger Solutions: your events PLUS your responses equal your outcomes. The challenge is that too often, we don’t pre-consider what outcomes we would like to achieve. Ask yourself: “How would I like this Christmas or holiday gathering to turn out?” “What’s the best way to ensure that my outcomes are realized?” Decide in advance, what measures you can take to do an end-run around those who would attempt to derail your plans. My number one priority outcome is always to create great memories. If that is your priority outcome, how can you make that happen? That brings us to our next strategy:
  3. Solicit partners in positive outcomes. Do you like the ring of that? Partners in positive outcomes. Talk to your family members BEFORE your big event. Be honest about your misgivings and state your expectations. Go beyond asking questions about who is bringing the sweet potatoes or the dessert. It might sound something like this: “So Christmas dinner is at our house this year, and I know we all want to have a really great time. What I’m hoping for is that we can all put aside any of the family stuff that we deal with all the rest of the year, and just really enjoy each other’s company.”
  4. If there is a particular family member who tends to be the instigator, prepare a plan for how you will deal with this individual’s behaviour. You may want to be proactive, and address them prior to the get-together in the hopes that they will agree to be on their best behaviour. Another approach is to call them on their behaviour as soon as they begin with their typical antics. Do this by calling them aside privately – no need to embarrass them or the rest of the family. Very gently and compassionately identify the behaviour that is problematic and request that they discontinue the behaviour for the rest of the evening. E.g. “Mom, I know that you want to be involved in the preparation of the food, and I’m grateful that you’re here to help, but when you openly criticize my cooking in front of the family, I feel minimized and belittled. I’m guessing that others here might feel uncomfortable when that happens as well. I’m sure you don’t mean to do that, but that is how I feel all the same. So I’m asking you if you would be kind enough to keep your criticisms to yourself for the rest of the night – I would really appreciate that.” Other approaches may be to ban the “meddling” instigators from the kitchen under the premise that they deserve to relax and mingle while the last minute preparations are taken care of. This always works better when two or more people deliver the same message.
  5. Be prepared for awkward moments. If you follow this blog, http://angersolution.blogspot.com/ then you know you have seen the TSA model before, but it will really help you if you find yourself experiencing a frustration signal during your family get togethers. Here it is again in a nutshell: THINK – What is happening? What does it mean? How do I feel about it? How would I like this to be resolved? What should I do next? SAY – “I feel… I need… I would like… ” Here’s a little tip – rather than saying, “Please don’t” – identify the exact behaviour that you would like to see instead. It keeps the conversation positive, and also clarifies your expectations for the other person. ASK – “Can you see where I’m coming from?” “How can we work together to help everyone have a really great time tonight?” Get the other individual involved in the problem solving process and you will get through even the awkward moments – AND you’ll do it together.
  6. Develop a structure for the evening. It doesn’t have to be a fully programmed dinner party; however, it may be more enjoyable and less stressful if you have a basic idea of how the evening will flow. Here’s an example:

– start with appetizers of course – people can mingle, listen to music, get caught up with each other while the last minute meal prep is being taken care of. Ensure that the beverages and finger foods are NOT in the kitchen area, so you can minimize traffic through your workspace. You may want to have some space set aside for the kids/youth in the family so that they can hang out, play games, watch TV or socialize while they wait for the food to be served as well. Once dinner is over, the designated cleanup crew clears the tables and gets them prepped for dessert. You may want to bring out some games (quiet ones at this point) – card games, chinese checkers, battleship, etc. for people to play. There are of course lots of new fun games on the market that engage conversation, and can be played by a large number of people. These are ideal to hel people stay focused on having fun, rather than wanting to bring up old family grievances. If there is a time for gift giving, designate a time for this as well.

I trust you will find this advice helpful as you prepare to go full steam ahead into the holidays. Above all else, remember the reason for the season – that is my first and last piece of advice to you.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and above all, be blessed!

Motivational Quote: Obstacles along the way

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank Clark

Motivational Quote: Genius

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison, Inventor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

Setting the tone for your day

Whether you wake up saying “Good Morning God”, or “Good God, morning” will likely set the tone for the rest of yours (and the people around you) day.

Your attitude in the morning creates the filter in which you see the world. If you wake up grumpy you will likely have a challenging day. Wake up happy and you will find your day will go much smoother.

The cool thing is the choice is yours.

Choose Wisely.