We have all heard the phrase “It’s all about the journey.”

A Harvard study found that we spend almost 50 percent of our time thinking about the past and future, instead of focusing on the present, which leads to increased unhappiness.

The holidays can lead to an increase in stress – and much of it is about thinking about the past and the future.

We worry that we won’t have enough presents, or the right presents. We worry that we won’t have enough money.

Perhaps we’ve lost a loved one and grieve for the days when they were with us, or long for days past when our children were small and appreciated everything we did for them. Maybe the holidays bring up memories of not so great times when we were children and it makes us feel sad. Or we may had wonderful holiday memories that we wish we could relive. It seems our minds can come up with an endless amount of reasons to not be happy in this moment!

On TV and social media it can appear as if everyone else is having a perfect holiday season.

So, what are we to do?

Enjoy the journey.

I learned how true this is this past year when I took a long overdue vacation. While it may seem that just taking a vacation was the destination, I learned that it really is always the journey.

Some of you already know that I took a cruise to Alaska with my family. Just being on the journey to Alaska, on the ship, on the ocean, brought me relaxation and peace.

It was not about getting to Alaska at all.

It was about the journey there. Enjoying the ocean, the sky, my family, and of course the food. It was taking time to breath and enjoy what was right in front of me at that very moment.

When we got there it was thrilling! The landscape, the weather, the people were so different than what I am used to experiencing here in Columbus, Ohio. Every moment was an adventure.

You may ask – what about the journey home? Didn’t you think about how sad it would be for your vacation to end?

Yes and no. Yes, in that I am human and that’s what we do. And no in that, I had relaxed enough to come to a new understanding of what everyone means when they talk about being “mindful” and enjoying the journey.

I have so many things to be grateful for, my family, my friends and YOU!

Happy Holidays!

Debbie Smith