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Preparing for the Holidays 

Many of us imagine attending celebrations looking like models and getting along perfectly with family and friends. Others dread holidays because of difficult past experiences, forcing themselves to attend events that stir up pain. Unfortunately, not only are perfect relationships and perfect beauty a myth, but acting against our best interests stores up negative feelings. 

1. Know what you want from your holiday. What do you look forward to, and what do you wish to avoid? Make a list.

2. Think ahead. Take the “wish you could avoid” items, and ask: What am I likely to feel in this situation? What is likely to trigger my negative feelings? Are any of my thoughts distorted and getting in the way of my having positive feelings and/or taking healthy action? Are there more rational, healthy thoughts that I can substitute for distorted thoughts? Are there behaviors I could change that would help me better meet my goals?

3. Make a plan in your best interests. Base it on the above information, and get feedback from supportive others. Make your plan specific and not so big that you can’t realistically achieve it. 

Taking a little control can feel empowering and boost your spirits.

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