By Norman E. Rosenthal, MD

The holidays provide us with a great time to enjoy family and friends, and if we play our cards right, they can be remembered as a joyful, harmonious and relaxing time by everyone. If this year finds you experiencing some winter doldrums, this advice should revitalize your bah humbug spirit!

Quick Tips for Happier Holidays
  • List three things you would like, or would like to accomplish, in 2005. Then for each, write three steps that will bring your wish closer.
  • Let a driver make a turn while you wait. Smile and wave!
  • Donate to a charity whose work you genuinely admire. Giving really is better than receiving—really!
  • Let somebody else get on the escalator, off the elevator, through the grocery line, first.

Have a Happier Holiday
  • Missing someone? Make amends. The degrees to which we love, laugh, connect, forgive (or don't!) impact stress levels, perspective, overall wellness and quality of life. People who maintain close, positive relationships tend to enjoy more robust coping skills, enhanced health and self-esteem with less day-to-day stress.
  • Connect with nature. Take a quiet winter woods hike, or a beach walk.
  • Give up one self-sabotaging habit for one week.
  • Lots of plans but nothing you really enjoy? Make a date to meet a friend for a treat. It is amazing what a powerful stress-buster just spending a few minutes with someone you like can be!