So begins one of the most beautiful Christmas songs. But not only that. With beautiful regularity begin in Advent Hectic, stress and time pressure. In doing so, we look forward to this special time of year made for retreat, reflection and joy.
This year, everything can be different, if we stick to some rules of the game. Because we decide every day anew what is important to us, how we behave, think and feel.
The 5 ideas of happiness
Being happy instead of meeting expectations
Advent is overloaded with expectations of company parties, gifts, Christmas decorations, etc.. Now, everything should be especially beautiful, especially peaceful, especially friendly. No one - ourselves included - can live up to that. It would be better to expect less and instead be happy about what happens.
Being happy instead of fulfilling conditions
The Christmas tree has to be fancier than last year, the children's eyes should shine especially brightly with the presents, and we can't have a festive celebration without culinary highlights. The more conditions we set in order to be happy, the rarer we are. Especially when we can only partially influence them ourselves.
Being happy instead of being right
To give or not to give? This question is already heating up the minds months before Advent. We have a clear idea of what is right. And we assume that our opinion is the "rightest" one. Everyone else thinks so too. And already we waste energy, time and joy in the same arguments over and over again.
Be happy instead of celebrating perfectly
The windows still need to be cleaned, the goose must be bought only in a certain store, the color of the napkins must match the baubles, candles, carpet and bows. Often we overextend ourselves so much during the preparations that we can no longer enjoy the result due to exhaustion.
Being happy instead of negative focus
What do we talk about at dinner? What is mentioned on the radio, television, newspapers? Negatives, problems. We perceive a distorted world. There are many more people who have not been mugged than mugged, there are more trains on time than unpunctual.
The 5 ideas for enjoyment
Pleasure needs concentration
How often do we focus on pleasure in everyday life? While we're having a head massage at the hairdresser's, our thoughts are on the messy children's rooms. Or we sit in a trendy restaurant, treat ourselves to something delicious and read the news on our smartphone.
Pleasure needs strength
How much time do we invest in our bodies every day? Sports, breaks, mobility, healthy food, fresh air? And how much do we demand from it? Sitting all the time, computer work, driving fast and a lot, hectic, too little sleep, alcohol, caffeine? How can a body that is at its limit suddenly enjoy itself?
Pleasure needs energy
If we have done a lot throughout the year and have not recovered much, there is a danger that our batteries are empty at the end of the year. We notice this not only in more frequent infections. But also by thin-skinnedness, impatience and hardness against ourselves and others. Many an argument would not be conducted if we were in a good or better mood.
Pleasure needs good thoughts
Negative feelings and exhaustion are transferred between people, e.g. couples and teams. The collective mood rubs off on the individual. Because we empathize with others and they are unconsciously models for us.
Pleasure needs to switch off
When we are busy with worries and bad news at night, on weekends and during holidays, we rest less and less and do not draw new strength. So we become more and more sensitive. Because the switching points for stress in the brain, the almond nuclei, enlarge and react ever faster to stressors.
The bonus tip for enjoyment and happiness in Advent
As well as we handle ourselves, we can handle others and any situation. Therefore, we better take care of ourselves. Then everyone gets something out of it. My three favorite practical ideas for this are:
Let's make sure we have plenty of oxytocin, an antagonist of the stress hormone. By Smile, cuddle, friendly eye contact, positive thoughts.. Let's eat plenty of dark chocolate. It makes you awake, protects the immune system and brings fun.
Let's do something meaningful. Quick happiness like watching a movie, good food or good drinks only work against stress in the short term. Lasting feelings of happiness, which relieve stress at the cellular level, arise from a sense of purpose. This can be to achieve something together, to learn something or to help.
And the "anchor" for an enjoyable Advent is as follows: With every piece of chocolate, let's ask ourselves if we've done enough for ourselves in other ways today.
Have a happy advent!
This article is a guest contribution from Dr. Ilona Bürgel.
I am one of the first representatives of Positive Psychology in the German-speaking world and an expert for physical and mental well-being. I have a doctorate in psychology, am an author and lecturer.
The invitation to a change of perspective runs like a red thread through my work - away from the fixation on external conditions in our constantly changing world, towards a good way of dealing with oneself.