How to Reverse the Downward Spiral:
Simple but timely advice from your wealth and health advocates at Values Based
6:05 came far too early. My alarm’s happy tones grated on my already stressed nerves.
I had gone to bed at 12:30AM after yet another holiday party. Was this the 6th one in a row? I couldn’t remember. I had lost count. Work parties. Networking parties. Neighbor parties. Family parties.
Who sets these rules? Americans are some of the hardest workers in the world throughout the year. Long hours. Long days. Long weeks.
Then, we decide to cap out the year with the month of December. Not only do most retailers break into the black in the month of December, but a quarter of all personal annual spending happens in this single month.
Exhausted? Broke? Unhappy? The holidays often trigger a time of buying things we don’t want for people we don’t like with money we don’t have. So why do we do it?
If the above describes you as it does most Americans, then my advice is – don’t.
Unplug. Set your vacation auto-responder to Out of the Country but don’t go anywhere. Stay home. Put on your PJs. Throw away the holiday goodies. Make yourself a smoothie. Go for a run. Read a book. Journal. Meditate. Refocus.
Everyone can tell a begrudging giver and overworked and over-stressed people aren’t very fun to be around during the holidays anyway. Set a better foundation for 2018. Figure out your morning routine, structure your workday, budget for exercise and relaxation. Catch up on sleep.
But don’t stay there. Remember, as John Donne penned, no man is an island. You are part of something bigger. You are a part of the orchestra, with a unique part to play. You are part of humanity.
And here we come full-circle to our opening question: why the December holidays? If they cause all this stress on our already stressful lives, why do them at all? Congress, tear down this wall!
But it’s here that we hear the soft, gentle tones of Silent Night and find a necessary paradigm shift.
People are most happy when they live in community and contribute to community. People are happiest when they give. TIME published an article earlier this year on new research that confirms what we’ve known all along: it is better to give than to receive. Being generous really does make you happier.
It doesn’t even have to be a lot of generosity – just the simple thought to be generous makes us happier. And in making us happier, it makes us healthier. And perhaps it goes without saying: happier people are wealthier people – personally and financially. And wealthier people have more resources to give – of their time, talents, and treasures. This is an upward spiral. Get on the escalator. Go places. Do great things with your life.
It’s the person who gives the most that is remembered the best. Don’t pursue your empire or legacy. Instead, pursue doing good and giving back and your legacy will be so established and cherished in the hearts and memories of the ones you’ve touched so as to never be effaced.
Monuments are destroyed. Buildings crumble. But memories… they live on.
So in summary, from us to you, here’s our recipe for both health and wealth – the happier you – this holiday season and in 2018 and for the rest of your life:
- Take care of yourself, for in doing so, you will better take care of others.
- Earn just a little more than you need, for in doing so, you can help someone else in need.
- Learn something each day, for in doing so, you will be able to give the gift of knowledge.
- Give without asking, for in doing so, you will receive the treasure of being a better person.
- Little thoughts lead to great actions and great actions change the world.
- Let your thoughts therefore be kind and your legacy will be established in everyone’s mind.