A Cure for Holiday Stress – Science for Inside Out Thinking

Smiling face in the clouds

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Are you wanting to reduce stress so you can enjoy the holidays this year? Have the holidays become a source of overwhelming activities and lists?

We have experienced the same things. But in recent years have taken steps to reverse the stress and make the holidays more enjoyable.


We are bombarded with messages that say we must have the latest and greatest “WhatChaMaCallIt” out there. And that we’ve got to dress or look like everyone else or we’ll miss something great. Stop looking at what everyone else appears to have — the truth is, much of it is on payments and those payments are crushing the life out of them.

Realizing how much we already have and how rich we are in relationships can bring the greatest sense of peace and rest. And keep us from spending money we should spend in an attempt to soothe our pain.

Honestly, we do struggle with this once in a while.

It’s usually when we’re going through a tough time  . . . like a few years ago when one of our kids had four knee surgeries. Oh my, we were all so discouraged. It was really hard to watch her pain and try to see the bright side.

But we were able to get through that tough year with the help of friends, family and our faith in God, and we saw many blessings as a result of this struggle too.

Our daughter met her husband as she was recovering from her last surgery. We’ve also met some awesome people (doctors, nurses and new friends) who have come alongside our daughter and us to encourage and support. The bright side is that we have a great network of friends and family.

To help us remember the good in life we’ve made lists of things we’re grateful for, and honestly, making the lists was such a wonderful prescription for creating new perspectives that Annette started a Thankful Book that we write in a couple of times each week during dinner.

Here are five things you can do to help cultivate an attitude of gratefulness:

  1. Write a quick list of the things you are thankful for.
  2. Write a note or email, to a friend who gave you a gift.
  3. Call an old friend and get together to recall “the good old days.”
  4. Go outside at night and look at the stars.
  5. Take a look at all you do have and say a prayer of thanksgiving (we really do have a lot).

A Happy Brain? 

Steve recently read this article from Atlantic Magazine: How to Build a Happier Brain. The takeaway was, that while bad things will happen in life, and we will spend time thinking about them — we need to also force ourselves to take time to appreciate the hundreds of good things that happen too.

The Atlantic Magazine Logo

We actually need to savor a sunset,

Savor a delicious bite of dessert,
Savor a friendly smile or a kind driver who allowed us to change lanes.

Rehearsing the many wonderful and good things that happen every day, and taking the time to dwell on them, creates positive pathways in our brain and this practice will help us enjoy life more.

If you saw the movie, “Inside Out” you’ll love the scientific explanation of the value to getting good experiences to move from Short-Term memory and into Long-Term (Core Memory) storage. Read the article How to Build a Happier Brain and see if you take away the same things we did.

We recently learned that Pastor Jamie Rasmussen from Scottsdale Bible Church wrote a book called “How Joyful People Think.

We were amazed at how such a small book could make a lasting impact.

Like most bible teachers, Pastor Jamie Rasmussen takes one small verse and digs deep with it. He makes it relatable to so many parts of life.

The book is based on the bible verse Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The combination of personal experience and biblical teaching was inspiring and entertaining. He’s very transparent with his life, sharing with victories and failures.
The book is pretty easy to get through.

It leaves room for self-reflection but doesn’t require intense study. The book is available in print and audio. We listened to the audio version

Pastor Jamie is an excellent teacher and his insights on life are deep.

You’ll learn to evaluate your thought processes. And you’ll also learn to expect God to do great things in your life.

If you want to change your thinking and have more joy in your life, consider picking up a copy of this book.

If you want to learn more about Jamie, visit his site: PastorJamieRasmussen.com

If you have a moment, we’d love to hear a couple of the little things that happened to you today that you’re thankful for!

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