Is a joyful gathering of your clan about as likely to occur as 12 lords a-leaping? Make this the year you don't get drawn into the craziness. "Nobody can suck you in; there's no vacuum cleaner!" says Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., author of The Power of Intention. "The most important decision you'll ever make is whether you live in a hostile universe or a friendly one. If you believe it's hostile, you'll anticipate problems, difficulties, and struggles. If you live in a friendly universe but you're around others who don't buy into that, you can turn it around." Here are five ways to do that:
1. Make "I intend to feel good" your mantra. These are what Dyer calls "the five magical words." Enlightened people never dwell on what they don't want, what other people expect of them, or what always has been.
2. When somebody is trying to bring you down, avoid being critical or judgmental. Every time you are faced with antagonism, respond with kindness and civility and watch the reciprocal effect that has on others.
3. Stay neutral when family members fight. "When you know you don't have to choose the bickering, you are really empowered," says Dyer.
4. Get away by yourself if that's what you want. It's your right, although many of us don't exercise it "because we live in fear of what somebody else might say or how they might react," says Dyer.
5. If your family is totally out of control during the holidays, postpone your visit and see in the New Year with cherished friends, neighbors, and colleagues instead.