GOOD MORNING MONDAY – AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning; it is Monday 😊! We are now beginning the third week of December. The holiday is creeping up on us very quickly, as it always does; but, the thought for you to ponder is, “how am I responding to this inevitable outcome?” Am I taking it one moment at a time? Am I fully awake to my life and appreciating all its wonder? Being preoccupied with trying to arrive at some place more desirable, at some future time, is an illusion; this moment is your life. Be awake and attentive to it in the here and now! Do not miss out on the “bloom of the present moment” (Henry David Thoreau).
By now, you have probably figured out, that my word/concept for this week is “Mindfulness/Being Present”. Mindfulness is all about paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment; non-judgmentally. It is simply the art of conscious living. Living life in the here and now. Living your life fully while you have it to live. Let’s explore this concept within the context of the holiday season.
The storybook image of the holiday season is one of relaxation, peace and joyous celebrations with family and friends. Unfortunately, the reality of the season can be quite different. The holiday is approaching quickly, and you may be feeling more stress than holiday cheer. Spreading yourself too thin can cause anxiety and exhaustion. When your mind is in overdrive, you can miss the subtleties and richness that are available to you in the present moment. It is easy to start feeling “overwhelmed” instead of feeling “overjoyed”!
Pause, slow down and realize that the magic of the holidays, (and life in general), typically comes to us often in small, authentic moments, (a hug from a loved one, a moment of noticing beauty in nature or friends and family around the table, the sensation of a warm drink in your hands, etc.). Being present means you are more acutely aware of the details of the moment, including what you are experiencing, as well as a true connection with those around you.
If you want to enjoy the holiday season more, focus your efforts on being present with yourself and others. When you take moments to drop in and truly notice the present moment, you are more likely to realize a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Making time to “stay present” will improve relationships with self and others and enable connections in a deeper way.
Here are several tips I compiled from different articles that may help you stay present, grounded and connected to yourself and others during this busy holiday season:
Take 50% Off – each year your To Do list probably gets bigger and bigger (along with your stress level). Make your list, then cut it in half. Many times, we put so much pressure on ourselves to have the “perfect” holiday we get exhausted in the pursuit. If you do not feel that you can cut 50%, try cutting out some items that may seem excessive and don’t connect with your original intention about what truly matters or what will truly give joy for the holiday. I am sure you will find some items that can be eliminated 😊.
Pay attention to details – when you are stressed or moving too fast, you can miss the details of the season. Take a moment or two to pay attention to the details of your experience, (the color of holiday lights, the tone of holiday music, the expression of a loved one’s face). Noticing the details will always bring you back to the present moment.
Breathe into “overwhelm” – no matter if it is the lines you are waiting in, deadlines you are experiencing, or insensitive statements from a relative, don’t let it cloud your holiday joy. Instead of reacting right away, take three deep breaths. The oxygen will relax your nervous system and you will create a moment of presence so that you can choose your response; which may just save yourself and others from even more holiday stress 😊!
Devote Your Full Attention – the best gift you can give anyone is the gift of your entire presence. So, make a conscious effort to focus your attention on who you are with. Try to keep your phone out of sight and encourage others to do the same. Our relationships become deeper when we are fully present, actively listening and staying curious about what others have to say.
Find Joy in Little Things – instead of focusing on how busy you are; try to find moments of joy throughout your day. Find something to be grateful for each day and write it down or take a picture of it. By focusing on what you are grateful for each day, you will begin to pay attention to the little things that bring you great joy!
At the end of the day, ask yourself what truly matters to you. Observe what brings a smile to your face; and that is where your answer lies. Being present, no matter what time of the year, is about slowing down, noticing your thoughts and deciding in that moment how you want to show up.
This holiday season, give yourself, and those you love most, a gift that cannot be imitated or replicated by anyone else – the gift of your authentic self.
Have a GREAT day and a GREAT week!