“We all want this precious time together with those we love to be filled with the stuff of life that makes for good memories, not ‘oy vey’ moments and regrets,” Julie says. “While none of us can control what others say and do, one thing we do have a say in is how we respond and how we stay calm.”
Mindfulness provides us with an opportunity to be our best selves more often, and that can only be a good thing. So, as you gather together with friends and family this holiday season, keep these mindfulness practices handy in case you need to grab hold of one at just the right moment.
Problem: You’re cooking a huge holiday meal and you don’t have as much support as you’d like. (Or maybe you have too many cooks in the kitchen!)
Mindful Solution: Slice and dice mindfully. Measure and pour mindfully. Pay mindful attention to what you’re doing rather than focusing on any frustration you may feel.
Problem: People are talking politics and things start to get heated.
Mindful Solution: Don’t engage with the drama. Instead, practice Loving Kindness. Try repeating an internal Loving Kindness mantra such as: “May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.” Use “we” if you’d like to include some Loving Kindness for yourself.
Problem: You are attending a family gathering you know will include someone with whom you have unresolved issues.
Mindful Solution: Make a playlist of songs that fill you with good feelings and listen to it on the way to the gathering. Before you go in, take a few minutes and practice the Receiving-Sending meditation. Breathe in the pain; breathe out goodwill. Breathe in the chaos; breathe out peace.
Problem: You feel overwhelmed by everything that has to be done to make the holidays “just right.”
Mindful Solution: Get grounded. Use a “Here-and-Now Stone” or simply ground yourself in your body by putting your attention on the soles of your feet. Focus your energy downward, keep your attention there, and breathe slowly and deeply.
“For any problem that arises this holiday season, mindfulness can help you get through it,” Julie says.
About Julie Potiker: Julie Potiker is a mindfulness expert with extensive teacher training in a variety of tools and methods, including Mindful Self-Compassion. Through her Mindful Methods for Life program offerings and her book — “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos” — Julie helps others bring more peace and wellness into their lives. For more information, visit MindfulMethodsForLife.com