Episode 071: Holiday Reminder: You Don’t Live in a Norman Rockwell Painting

It’s the Holiday Season, and our Monger LOVES to remind us of all the ways we aren’t perfect.  My #1 tip for enjoying the Holidays, getting along with challenging family members and having a happy Thanksgiving even if you aren’t living in a Norman Rockwell Painting.

Press dT85kGoac to Listen


Hi, and welcome. You are listening to the Happiness Hacks podcast. And I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor. And in this podcast, I share my stories, lessons, and hacks I’ve learned, and I continue to learn, on my quest to live happier. The show notes can found at And this is Episode 71, “A Holiday Reminder You Don’t Live in a Norman Rockwell Painting.”

Hey, everyone. I’m excited to be back here on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I just wanted to do a quick podcast to remind you all that the holidays are upon us as if you didn’t know. And with the holidays, comes a lot of Monger-chatting. So our Mongers love this time of year because it is ripe with people-pleasing, and perfectionism, and getting everything right. And that is our Monger’s mantra. So, it’s also ripe with family who tend to fire up the monger, because they have put the buttons in us that get us fired up. So, if there is ever a time that we resort to our default patterns and get lulled in by that monger, it is when we are hanging out with our families.

 There are so many tips out there about how to get through the holidays, and what you should do. And so, we get all wrapped up in doing the holidays right, from a personal development standpoint. So then we’re spinning our wheels the other way. So, we’re spinning our wheels, because our monger is making us run 1,000 miles an hour to please everyone in the family and to make everything right. And then, we decide, okay, we’re going to be looking at our lives from a personal development standpoint, and we start spinning our wheels that we’re not doing that right. So, it’s just this Catch-22.

So the main thing I wanted to tell you was a phrase that I was sharing with a client of mine recently, that really, radically changed my life, especially when it comes to family, which is where we’re going to be hanging this holidays, most likely. And that is the idea to remind yourself repeatedly, “You are not eight years old.”  I will say to myself, “I am not eight years old, I am 44. I’m 44.” And it snaps me back to, “Oh, my gosh. I am an adult who has a mortgage and a car payment. And I am doing things in my life. I am an adult.”

And so, it isn’t so much that the family members in our life, or the people we’re surrounded by in our life, make us feel eight years old. We make ourselves feel like we’re eight years old. More accurately, our monger makes us feel like we’re eight years old. And our biggest fan steps in to remind us, “You are an adult here. You have opinions; you have needs, you have the freedom to do what you want because you’re a freaking adult!” So, I just want that to become your mantra for this holiday season. “I am not eight years old. I am (fill in the blank, however old you are.)”

And it is crazy how often, when I do that, that there’s kind of like this, “Oh, yeah.” It’s like I literally have to remind myself that I am 44. And a piece of my brain goes, “Oh, yeah. You are. You are an adult here.” So it is a very simple little quick piece of advice that I just wanted to give you, something easy that you can take into the Thanksgiving holiday, and say, “Okay, I’m not eight years old,”. When you’re standing there and you’re trying to mind-read your mom, yet again, or you’re beating yourself up because the stuffing didn’t turn out perfectly, or, your kids are acting up, or whatever’s happening. And your monger is just slamming you, to remind yourself, “Wait a minute. I am not eight years old here. I am an adult. And there are lots of ways to handle this. I don’t have to go into my default patterns.”

Live Happier Through the Holidays:

 I wanted to share, briefly, that coming up for the holiday season, I am doing a “Live Happier Through the Holidays” free daily email series. Daily emails coming to you that are simple tips for getting through the holidays, and quieting your monger through the holidays and bringing up your biggest fan. A lot of the topics are going to be a sneak-peek into my book, coming up in January, The Happier Approach. So, I’m going to be applying The Happier Approach to the holidays, and how we can really soak them up and enjoy them, without the voice of the monger telling us.

Weekly Ritual Segment:

One thing that has helped me Live Happier is adding regular ritual practices to my daily life so each week I am going to be sharing a ritual with you and challenge you to complete it.

Name 1 Thing You are Grateful For

Okay, gang. Now it is time for the weekly ritual challenge. And I really encourage you, in addition to asking yourself, or reminding yourself, “I’m not eight years old here,” to really engage in a weekly ritual challenge. It doesn’t have to be this week’s. It can just be touching your toes, or wiggling, or jazz hands … I love jazz hands, by the way. Whatever it is that gets you back into your body, because that’s going to be so important during this holiday time, as the reminder to get out of the monger’s brain and into your biggest fan. So, that’s what these rituals are all about.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to have you name one thing you are grateful for. And that is just going to be simply taking a breath in the middle of making the stuffing, or listening to your father ramble on about football, say one thing you are grateful for. And bonus points if you can name three. But sometimes, you can only muster one. So take a deep breath, name something you’re grateful for. Make sure that it’s something deep, if you can. It’s better, when you’re doing gratitude, to go deep and really be specific.

Let’s take the example of you’re listening to your dad go on and on about football. Take a breath, and remind yourself, “Okay, I’m grateful for the fact that my dad is so passionate. I’m grateful that he’s so passionate, and he’s passed that on to my kids. Even though it’s football, and I don’t really understand football, I’m still really grateful for that personality trait in my dad.” So it’s a way to reframe the situation and see it from a place of genuine gratitude, not just painting it pretty, but genuine gratitude. So, that’s my challenge to you. But, as I said, feel free to do any weekly ritual, anything that gets you into your body, for five seconds or thirty seconds, will be helpful this week of the holidays.

That’s the show. Thanks so much for being here and listening. The podcast comes out a couple of times a month. If you have questions, please email me at Or, you can follow me on Instagram at nancyjane_LiveHappier. And until next time, here’s to living happier. And have a fabulous Thanksgiving. Take care. Bye.

Subscribe and Never Miss an Episode:

Like the Show?  Leave a Review

If you enjoy the Stories from a Quest to Live Happier Podcast, please, take a minute and leave a review in iTunes. This helps more people find the show. Simply head to iTunes and leave a review. You can review the show by clicking here. Thank you!!