Personal note

This has been the week I finally got to launch my new book, The Confident Introvert. As I (and a lot of writers) have found out, it’s not the writing that is so hard; it’s all the details, such as getting the sources exactly right, that bog you down. Then there was Storm Sandy, isolating my e-book formatter with no power for a week or so.

But it’s here, and I am so excited to share it with a world in which at least 30% of us are introverts in a culture that idealizes extroversion. You can find it at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, or just go to www.ConfidentIntrovert.com to order it directly from me.

Watch for the free teleseminar I will be giving on this topic on Thursday, December 13.  REGISTER HERE.

Exhausted and elated, I decided to rely on a couple of other sources to round out my newsletter this week. If you are not acquainted with the Center for Greater Good, at the University of California at Berkeley, this would be a good time to connect.

The “Happiest Time of Year”?

We are entering the time of year that, we are assured, should be the happiest. For some people, that’s like being the adolescent kid with acne and uncontrollable hair who is told, “But these are the happiest days of your life.”

Before you put on your Grinch hat and turn green, consider taking the steps recommended by Christine Carter in her timely article, Preventing Holiday Fatigue, in her “Raising Happiness” newsletter, found on the website of the Center for Greater Good at the University of California, where she suggests you focus on gratitude and simplifying your holiday wishes.

Carter maintains that gratitude should be practiced every day, using the frequent question, “How are you?” to trigger a response that reflects how grateful we are for even the small good things in life, rather than triggering a sigh, and “OK, I guess.”

She also maintains, as do I, that the way you tell people about your life and its events determines whether you will feel stress or serenity.

Read her full article at:

Simplifying your life includes remembering what the holiday is all about, and teaching children that attitude, too. Carter suggests you set up holiday traditions that boost your happiness, and refers readers to a site that discusses ideas on alternative gifts that won’t strain your budget. Just go to http://www.newdream.org/programs/beyond-consumerism.

My suggestions are simple: when you are rushing around like the proverbial “chicken with its head cut off,” stop and ask yourself, “If I am running so hard, what is the prize?” – besides fatigue, irritability, and weight gain (yes, stress turns on your weight-gaining mechanisms).  This is a good question that should stop you in your tracks.

Then follow it with this question, “In the long run, what really matters is ___.” If you have been automatically rushing for a long time, I’ll bet you don’t have an easy answer to that one. Fill in the blank; sit down, pause, take a few deep breaths, and consider what choices you really want to make.

If you aren’t happy moving towards the holiday, what magic wand will make happiness suddenly appear on the day? You hold the magic wand; pause, breathe, and choose to use it now.