However, if you approach the season with the right attitude and actions, you don't have to succumb to all this stress and worry. Instead, you can turn this opportunity into a way to actually add years to your life.
How to Benefit from the Holidays
* Research shows that people who have a large number of social connections tend to live longer. Of course, if you have relatives who increase your stress, your best move is to minimize the time you spend with them and maximize the time you spend with the people you really enjoy. While none of us can completely eliminate the time we spend with irritating people, we all have the right to pleasantly and politely avoid them as much as possible. It is important that you do it politely, however. Nothing can increase your stress like a family feud. In other words, drop by the home of that busy-body aunt or alcoholic uncle for an hour or so. Drop off a small gift or home-baked treat. Smile a lot, make your excuses, and move on! Don't try to change the the people who are a problem to you; instead, spend your energy increasing your social connections with the people who you care about.
* Give what you can, but don't go into debt to do it. Giving is as enjoyable as receiving for most people, and we would all like to give gifts to our family and friends when we can. Giving to others also seems to bolster our life expectancy. However, there is no reason to go into debt in order to enjoy the pleasure of giving. First, look around your home. Do you own things that you don't want, but you think someone else would ... a pretty vase or souvenir from a trip? Perhaps you have received a gift that just isn't right for you. Re-gifting is perfectly appropriate, as long as you don't give it to the person who gave it to you! Still need more gifts? Head to the Dollar Store. That is where you can pick up holiday coffee mugs, Christmas tree ornaments, small children's toys, bubble bath, hand cream, picture frames, vases and candy. You can even buy cheap holiday cards and gift bags there. For $20, you can purchase 15 or more gifts that will allow you to give something to everyone on your list. It really is the thought that counts. Baking cookies or making candy is also a wonderful way to give gifts that will delight your family and friends. Want to do more? The Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday is known as Giving Tuesday. Make a donation to your favorite charity, even if it is just a couple of dollars.
* Volunteer to help others. Volunteers tend to live longer than those who don't. Whether you have an on-going commitment at your house of worship or a local children's hospital, or you just show up when you can to help at a food bank or soup kitchen, volunteering will make you feel good about yourself.
* Finally, let the holidays lift your spirits. Rather that getting down on yourself about the things you cannot do, allow yourself to feel grateful and appreciative for the good things you do have in your life. Let the holidays lift your spirits. Sing your favorite holiday songs. Drive around and look at the holiday lights. Invite friends over for a sweet treat or a glass of wine. People who are optimistic and happy tend to live longer, too.
May this be your best holiday season ever!
Use the tabs at the top of this blog to find other ways to maintain your health and increase your longevity. The tab on Medical Concerns contains links to dozens of other helpful health articles.
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