Holidays bring back refreshing memories from the past. Times that we have spent with our loved ones, memories of delicious meals cooked together, and the never-ending midnight conversations that we have after reuniting with a long lost friend.
For some of us, however, holidays can be stressful! Holidays may bring a host of common stressors with them - family obligations, financial burdens, time constraints, and more. From family conflicts to conforming to the “shoulds” of a traditional holiday ritual, phew! Holidays, no doubt can become burdensome. Not everyone looks forward to them. And, you are not alone.
Ever wondered, what would happen if you changed your way of approaching the holidays?
This year give yourself the opportunity to try something different. Become present to the ‘highs’ (in any shape or form) that you experienced this year. Try a short silver lining practice of gratitude. This may help you experience a sense of calm, contentment, and, joy as you get ready to soar through the holiday season.
Silver Lining Gratitude
- Find a place where you can sit in silence with yourself.
- Invite a pleasant memory to your mind. A past experience that unknowingly transformed unhappiness into joy.
- Take 3 deep breaths into the pleasant experience.
- Now, identify a current distressful experience that may be causing you unhappiness. This might be anything – your current finances, friend or partner issues, or a recent loss.
- Find the silver lining in this particular situation. How could you be grateful for this instance in your life right now?
- For example, if you lost a loved one, could you be thankful for those who supported you through the process and made your loss tolerable?
- Or, if you are low on finances and don’t have the best job, ask yourself, what new doors have opened for you? What possibilities can you create for your professional growth?
- Notice the new feelings that arise as you become aware of the silver linings.
- Sit with the feelings this silver lining brings to your present moment. Take 5-10 deep breaths into this awareness and eventually release the practice.
~ Adapted from Donald Altman, M.A., LPC
P.S. I know the holiday season is almost over, but there’s still time to try this and realize the possibility of returning more refreshed from the holidays. Look for more such simple mindfulness practices in the year to come. Plus, we at Still Waters Counseling will be starting a couple of mindfulness groups soon where you can come and learn with like-minded others!