Holidays are about anticipation. Sometimes people anticipate a negative thing and then devote precious energy to watching for it to happen. A better choice is keeping the focus on what brings joy to your season, on what you want to create this holiday. And it is important to remember that we always do have choices. For example, if you think about your holiday "to do" list as a "have to" list ( I have to buy presents, I have to make cookies, I have to call Aunt Tillie) you probably generate additional stress. Notice what happens in your body when you think of 'have to'. Odds are good that your shoulders squeeze in, the head sags down...the situation is driving you rather than the other way around. Instead, can you notice that critical moment when you react out of habit and make a different choice? Even if it is something as simple as to choose to not squeeze your shoulders, to open and relax them, even for a moment. Every time we choose a different response we are blazing new neural pathways in our brain, and beginning to establish new patterns that can create new outcomes.
What other choices can you think of to improve your holiday experience? The simple act of paying attention is powerful. Think about your goal for the day and ask yourself whether your choice at any given moment leads you closer to that goal or further away from it, and make your decisions accordingly. Practicing acceptance of other people and things as they are rather than the way you want them to be can relieve a lot of pressure. Choosing to allow yourself to be human and to take some rest when you need it is another option we sometimes overlook when we get caught up in the holiday. Simply staying mindful of your choices is a great gift to give yourself and your loved ones. The more we focus on what is in right in front of us, the more we might realize what we have.
Wishing for every one a happy holiday season filled with love and light.