Reframe Your Holiday

    Holidays can be a stressful time without an attitude of gratefulness to support us.  Sometimes our relationship with fellow workers, close friends and family seem to be the source of our greatest stress. While you can’t change your family, you can change how you look at them.  Before your next encounter, reframe your expectations with the thought, “I expect nothing, and will be grateful for everything.”  No doubt you are thinking, “Gee, that
would be hard.”  Just remember, the alternative is a return to what didn’t work.  To make it a bit easier look more closely at why reframing to an attitude of gratitude is important. First, if we remain attached to unattainable wants we have, in effect, chosen to suffer.  Secondly, if we don’t change our perspective we may miss an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding that can help constructively resolve our situation.

    Another reframing strategy is to assume the best intentions on the part of the person you have a conflict with.  Alternatively, give the person the benefit of a doubt that they are doing the best they can at this time.  It’s easy to fall into the mental trap of assuming people don’t care when it’s more likely they are just too caught up in their own lives to act reasonably.  If wondering why you should be the one that has to take the high road it’s because you have an opportunity to gain happiness and nothing to lose. That’s called a smart deal.

    Our close relationships can bring us happiness and sadness.  That’s the bargain we make.  To maintain friends and family that stand by us we find ways to reframe, reassess, and rebalance our differences.  That’s the nature of human relationships.  We take it all – the good and the not so good.  When done from a mindset of gratitude we gain happiness, love, and unconditional support.  Life is not for the faint-hearted.  Life can be amazing, unfair, sad, messy and even magnificent.  What brings out the best in us is the lens we view life through.  When we look through a lens of gratitude, it just looks a lot better.

By Nancy Neighbors, MD

... Dr. Neighbors provides a blend of traditional family medicine and evidence-based lifestyle medicine in Huntsville, Alabama. When indicated, lifestyle change is recommended as the first line of therapy.

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