As the holiday season approaches our stress level tends to go up. Giving thanks is one of four techniques to feel the joy and not the stress.
When you’re feeling caught up with our consumer-driven culture, catch yourself and take a moment to write in your special gratitude journal (or a scrap piece of paper if that’s what’s handy). Having an exceptionally hard time and feeling especially challenged to think of things for which you are grateful? Here are some: You are breathing. You can feel the sun (or rain) on your face. You can read this message. You are a unique human being with your own special talents (list them). Better than just using this practice on an as needed basis, make giving thanks a daily ritual, to start and/or end your day, or before you eat.
When you can approach any moment of your day with a little more attention, you will feel more connected. Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has been widely studied as an effective way to achieve a calmer, less reactionary outlook. Breathe and reflect often, throughout every day. Question your default thoughts and patterns. Strive to love yourself as you are, but challenge yourself to continue to progress and grow. My new favorite magazine for this is Mindful.
You know the feeling… you did something good for someone else in need and you feel wonderful, valued, important, worthy, capable. While contributing to others’ well-being should be a year-round activity, need can be magnified during this time of year. How can you find out if a charity you’re considering is virtuous? Refer to www.charitynavigator.org for important information. Remember, a local charity that you can find out more about and see the effects of your giving in your community may be the best route. Need more reasons to donate? Check out Gaiam’s article.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Do we really need eight side dishes that required gourmet recipes each for our day of thanks meal? Use your new mindful practice to reflect upon your life and see what can be let go of and what needs to be prioritized. Is everything in your day important to you or a loved one? If not, make a change and let go…
My new favorite magazine that will help to encourage you to live with more mindfulness, gratitude, charity, and simplicity is Spirituality & Health. Why not treat yourself to a pre-holiday gift and buy an issue (no affiliation, I promise!).