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In Search of Truly Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Dear Friends,

I received my holiday gift early this year—I spoke at the Massachusetts Conference for Women along with Anna Quindlen, Rene Syler, Suzy and Jack Welch. Then I headed to NYC to do a segment on Better TV, offering tips to resolve issues that arise during the holidays. Now, I join my family in La Jolla, California, where I will personally encounter the same holiday issues – and intend to follow the advice I’ve given others! I anticipate that this year’s holidays will be better than last; as I know I’ve become wiser, more forgiving, more loving and kind to myself.
“Home for the holidays” is not always a pleasant thought. The people from our gene pool may be the very ones who drive us most crazy: the aunt who is determined to tell you how to run your life, the cousin who tells offensive jokes, the kid brother who specializes in one-ups-manship. Not all of us look like The Waltons at the holiday table. Some families come to verbal blows well before the first slice of turkey or roast is carved.

It makes sense that the people you’ve known all your life are really good at pushing your buttons. Most of us revert to our childhood, less-evolved selves within minutes of being with family. But being with family is what holidays are all about. Are we stuck with two choices: 1) show up and be miserable or 2) hide out and avoid family gatherings altogether? No! There are techniques to deal with ugly family interactions in the moment they’re happening. The trick is to pre-train yourself and be prepared.

The following technique will work in moments of stress or to obliterate old, self-destructive patterns. The ways we deal with family has definitely been hard-wired into our brains over the years. The good news is that you can re-wire it.

Use your IMAGINATION… Visualize your brain cells laying down a new pathway for a new empowering thought. Cleanse the old negative thought (e.g., “My family is always critical of me and my lifestyle.”) from the brain in the moment it arises by acknowledging it and breathing it out of your physiology. Visualize this old thought being cleansed from your brain as a new thought (e.g., “My family loves me and I am terrific just as I am.”) creates a new neuropathway. You are rewiring your brain so that you can experience and enjoy the holidays.

We all tend to focus on what’s wrong when we come up against holiday headaches – let’s experiment this year by focusing on what we love about the holidays and what we love about our family. With this positive focus, we can wire this positive thought/attitude into our brains, truly creating a holiday filled with peace, love, and joy (making the cliché into a reality!).
My wish for you is that the holiday season and year ahead brings you joy, adventure, and fulfillment. My wish for myself is that there will be tons of snow in Tahoe in the New Year, allowing me to ski to my heart’s content!

Wishing you focus, fitness, & flexibility in body and mind,

Adrianne Ahern, Ph.D.
Performance Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and author of Snap Out Of It Now!
P.S. If you find value in this newsletter and wish to share it with others, please do so!

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