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The Happiness Connection  

How to keep your ho ho ho

Don’t let your family ruin your day

What do you picture when you imagine yourself having a happy life?

Do you imagine having bad hair days, and feeling frustrated with your family?

I have never researched the answer to that question, but I suspect most people see themselves in a world without negative emotions and annoyances.

Having lots of money and being retired are probably typical scenarios that pop into your mind.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that promotes the idea of never-ending happiness. It is as though we expect happiness to look like a fairytale life – once the bad guy has been banished.

In reality, a happy life is one where the wicked queen sticks around and keeps popping up when you least expect it.

You live in an ever-changing environment that you have little control over.

No matter how hard you try to avoid running into people and situations that you know will upset you, you don’t have that sort of power.

Happy people accept that.

  • Close your eyes and imagine taking a walk in the countryside:
  • concentrate on the path you are following.
  • What does the trail look like?
  • Does it go in a perfectly straight line, or does it twist and turn?
  • Are you going up and down, or is it perfectly level?

If you imagine a realistic looking route, it will undulate and wind its way through nature.

This is what your life looks like. It will bend and curve around the events you encounter, sometimes going uphill and other times sloping down.

You have little control over the circumstances of your life. You will encounter tough times, and experience magical ones where everything goes smoothly.

It isn’t the challenges in your life that make you unhappy, it’s the way you deal with them.

If you celebrate Christmas, or have a tradition of getting together with family, and friends over the holiday period, this knowledge may be invaluable.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot control what other people do; you can reason with, encourage, or threaten them, but you cannot guarantee they will behave the way you want them to.

This is especially important if you belong to a family that hasn’t modelled themselves after the Waltons.

You can’t choose your family, and throwing everyone together in the same room every December, does not ensure things will go smoothly.

Remember, it isn’t the challenges that will ruin your holiday, it is the way you deal with them that determines whether the fireworks start, or not.

To help you deal with those annoyances and frustrations, let me give you some coping skills.

  • Try to get enough sleep and eat as well as possible. A healthy body creates a healthy mind, and dealing with difficulties is easier when you are rested and feeling healthy.
  • Remind yourself that life is like a journey, the only path you ever really experience is your own. Don’t assume your sister is travelling the same route you are.
  • Because everyone takes their own journey; try not to judge the choices and decisions others make. In my experience, the most destructive characteristic when it comes to family, is judging others. No one likes to be seen in a poor light by their family members, or friends. Set the example, and accept others for who they are, rather than trying to change them into who you would like them to be.
  • See challenges and difficulties as opportunities to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Set yourself the goal of triumphing over them, rather than melting into them like the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Remember that you can’t control the circumstances you find yourself in, so don’t try. You can only control your reactions, and actions. Remind yourself of the old Irish blessing, to help you achieve this.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Maintain a sense of humour. Sometimes the biggest family fiascoes make the best stories in the years to come.

Good luck and enjoy all the experiences your holiday has to offer.

Remember it isn’t the people around you that will make, or break your day, it is how you choose to react to them. 



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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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