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An Odd Way to Cope with Holiday Overwhelm

November '18

When you make lists of what you need to accomplish in the upcoming weeks, does an unexpected sigh escape your lips? The holidays are here and stress often accompanies their arrival as much as we wish it wouldn’t. This month I’m going to suggest a slightly counterintuitive approach for combatting the seasonal overload, and that is to consciously “cultivate delight.” Yup! Don’t wait for delight to arrive until you see beaming faces in front of you after the kids have devoured your holiday cookies. Be proactive. Find delight before you even begin baking.

What is delight?

The simplest answer to this question can be found in the dictionary. 

delight 1: high degree of gratification! JOY also: extreme satisfaction 2: something that gives great pleasure 3: the power of affording pleasure

Why cultivate delight?

Why would you actually want to cultivate delight in a daily basis?  The simple and obvious answer to this question is that when you take great pleasure in your daily activities, you basically live a happier life. And when you share that joy with others, you make the lives of others happier and that makes the world a better place. And, “Who doesn’t want some of that?” 

How to cultivate delight?

The attitude with which you perform any daily task transforms both the task and yourself. Marion Woodman, a Jungian analyst, pointed out that you can scrub a floor with grim determination in an irritated mood because you have to complete this job, or you can turn on some of your favorite music and create time for a physical workout and contemplation. I try to remember her wisdom whenever I’m heading for those “icky” activities on my to-do list.

Another approach is to consciously select the images you bring into your daily life. These days violence and heartbreak prevail on the screen images of our daily news. Since Jung once said that images are closer to the unconscious than words, perhaps it is no surprise these images are so impactful. You can use this knowledge. Be aware of the scenes you bring into your daily life. You can watch the news, but you can also listen to it, or read it in the paper. In addition, you can consciously seek out daily images of beauty and serenity. 

Finally, you can smile. Research suggests that all kinds of good physiological effects occur when you simply turn up the corners of your mouth. And what sweeter sound on earth is there than than the chuckling of a baby or the laughter of friends?

I’m sure there are lots of other ways to bring delight into your life. What approaches have you found? As we enter this busy time of the year, I’d love to learn about them. Why not share if you can?

As you might guess, my wish for you is that your holidays are filled with delight!

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