The holiday season is a time filled with hope, faith, joy, and peace. Symbolically, this season represents the Light, a concept belonging to every wisdom tradition. A natural cycle of re-birth, for new beginnings, for presence. When caught up in the musings of our daily life, our ability to be more present becomes neglected. Presence is a skill, and when it evolves and becomes more powerful, the ability to be more present in our daily life grows. Then we encounter greater hope, love, joy, and peace in our lives.
Engaging consistently in any of the following techniques strengthens the ability to live in a state of presence. Leaving you feeling happier and healthier throughout the holiday season.
Practice Something You Enjoy
You do not have to be good at artistic things to enjoy them. Hobbies are meant to enrich and fulfill our lives and are not always about monetization or becoming the next big thing. I encourage you to engage in any hobby that brings you joy and happiness. Let yourself sing offkey, draw or paint poorly, sculpt badly, and write awfully. When you let go of the excuses and allow yourself to enjoy your hobbies, you will find you are more relaxed and joyful.
Connect With Others
Developing a support network empowers the ability to be resilient to stress. It provides an opportunity to process what you are experiencing with another person. Connecting with others reduces loneliness and sadness. If you lack support, think about the variety of connections you have or could make. A support network may include family, friends, co-workers, church members, spiritual networks, neighbors, school, or other organizations to which you belong.
Research reveals that a daily practice of gratitude can increase our levels of happiness. Expressing gratitude is simple and requires a minimal time commitment. Once a day, spend a few minutes writing all the things you are grateful for in the past 24 hours. It could be anything: a hot cup of tea, a smile from a co-worker, hearing your favorite song on the radio, a funny video, or the encouragement from someone special in your life; the possibilities are endless. After writing your list, pick one item and spend one minute reliving the moment, using all of your senses: taste, sound, touch, smell, images, and emotions.
Yoga & Meditation
Yoga is a Sanskrit word, which means union. It is a state of harmony when your actions and thoughts are congruent. It is a systematic approach to solving life’s problems and a tool to help us to improve our understanding of the mind. Meditation falls under yoga. Try yoga and meditation while seeking to understand the cause of your suffering and the pathways to end suffering. Sharing many of the same benefits, yoga, and meditation can reduce muscle tension, lower anxiety symptoms, and ease digestive problems. Other benefits include increased empathy, improved immune function, and reduced depression and substance use disorders. Try a yoga or meditation class in person, live stream, or online.
Celebrate the Meaning of the Season
The hustle and bustle of the season for many creates stress, anxiety, and depression. Re-establishing old or creating new celebrations brings a sense of stability and peace. There are many ways you can celebrate this time of year regardless of your religious or spiritual background or how you choose to celebrate. Be creative! Look at old familiar family traditions you have. Which ones can you update or put a new spin on them? Which ones have fallen away, and in what way can you bring them back? Start new traditions. What have you always wanted to try or do? How do you want to experience the holiday season? What is important to you, to your family?
Deepest blessings on your journey...