Are you allergic to the holiday spirit?

Before the last trick-or-treater goes to sleep, retail elves start decking the shopping malls with holiday gifts. When Christmas usurps Halloween it’s easy to feel saturated with holiday cheer and become prematurely filled with the bah-humbugs. By the time Black Friday rolls around the day after Thanksgiving, you’re primed to knock over little old ladies and their walkers to get your loved ones the latest techno-gizmo. Clearly you’re in no shape to shop. Best to apply some mental medicine and fortify your immune system so you’re in the proper frame of mind.

Point of View
As a professional performer, I live the cliché “the show must go on” and know what’s truly vital is to maintain a healthy attitude. Several years ago I was booked to do a magic show at UCLA and made the mistake of having a cup of college coffee. The brew was so strong my hands shook like a workman operating a jackhammer. I could barely shuffle a deck of cards, but my audience didn’t care. They wanted to be entertained. If I were in a movie, it would be the pivotal scene where the hero (that’s me – played by Hugh Jackman) must decide what to do: run away to perform another day or levitate beyond the jolt of java coursing through my body. I chose to reveal my caffeine quandary. Coeds and tenured professors started to laugh with (and at) me all the way through my show. I learned two important lessons: stay away from college coffee and adopt a positive attitude for a positive outcome.

Proper Perspective
Google “positive attitude” and the Internet will return more than 11 million references in less than one second. There are hundreds of articles, quotes, books, essays, games, affirmations and poems devoted to this topic, but all share one basic theme: only you have the power to choose your ’tude.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill

There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.”
William Bennett

A human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”
William James

Rudolph Rage
Going to your “happy place” seems to be more of a challenge especially when faced with long seasonal checkout lines and even longer holiday traffic conditions. How do you release the pressure and return to your jolly jingle?

Breathe.

A well known speaker’s relaxation technique, proven to reduce tension and anxiety, is deep abdominal breathing. Relax your stomach muscles and slowly inhale a deep breath through your nose for five seconds completely filling lungs. Then exhale through the mouth. Most presenters repeat this process three times to get the desired effect – a calm body and clear head in less than 30 seconds.

You can complete this temperance trick in a car, in a bar, or in a line hopefully before you whine. My reference to Dr. Seuss has a point hidden within the rhyme. You can change your attitude anytime.

So while corporate America is out making a few bucks, it’s important to remember that clerks are just doing their jobs, taking your cash, check or charge. And when they say, “Have a nice day,” “Happy Holidays,” or whatever the latest politically correct phrase is, accept it with a smile. Better yet, take a deep breath, get some latitude in your attitude and wish them a Happy New Year!

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