How many things have you done today that you felt you had to do? That you simply “must” do. How many things have you projected on to others that they “must do”. You guessed it, this is musturbation. As much as I wish this term was mine, sadly it is not. It was coined by Dr. Albert Ellis, a renowned psychologist of the 20th century.

Musturbatory Thinking can create devastating consequences in your life. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off doing what you must instead of what you desire is primary. Secondarily, resenting others because they “make you do things” (by the way, nobody can make you do anything, you just feel that you “must”) can eat away at you and cause strain and unnecessary heartache in your relationships.

Here is a perfect example for the holidays. Many of us think we “must” decorate extravagantly for the holidays, or spend a fortune, or cook big meals, or buy everyone we know thoughtful and intimate gifts, even if it stresses us out completely.

We also think we “must” attend every party we are invited to, even the ones that have 114 people on the invite list on Evite. Clearly a body count party instead of an intimate gathering of friends. No thanks!

Choice underlies all of the musts! Follow these 2 easy tips, like flipping a coin, to kick the habit of Musturbation.

1.Do I want to do this? Will this activity stress me out?If the answer is “No” and then “Yes” it is time for some serious evaluation. Give yourself permission not to do it. Especially if it involves baking fruitcake you don’t want to eat!

You don’t have to wrap 1000 gifts, you don’t have to hand write cards for the family members you haven’t seen in 7 years. Hopefully the ridiculousness of these “musts” are evident as you read this page.

When you free yourself from these “musts” you will feel better internally and you let go of being frustrated toward those that you feel are controlling you. Not going to that party could be the best thing you do for yourself and your friendship with the invitee.

2.What do I want to do? Many times we spend our time being annoyed about all the stuff we don’t want to do, that we don’t spend time contemplating or doing the things we do want to do.

Right down 3 things you would like to do this holiday season. Now plan them to be sure you do them.

I want to bake and decorate cookies with my kids. I want to go ice-skating. I want to spend quiet evenings in front of my tree sipping wine and reading (this one is mine, obviously, for those who know me).

Last night during an incredibly busy day of seasonal “stuff”, I took my dog Chewbacca for a 6 minute walk. No joke, 6 minutes. My kids were shouting to me as I left, “You don’t have enough time”, I retorted “Watch me!” Six minutes later we were back, I jumped in our car and we were off to the next holiday concert.

Taking control in your life feels great and empowers you on a daily basis. Limit the “musts” that really aren’t in your best interest and add some of the “desirables” that will bring you joy to have the most merry and happy season this year.