Health Wise: Soaring through the Holidays in Gratitude

 12/28/2017 - 13:02

 

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

 

  1. Find a place where you can sit in silence with yourself.
  2. Invite a pleasant memory to your mind. A past experience that unknowingly transformed unhappiness into joy.
  3. Take 3 deep breaths into the pleasant experience.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

 

  1. Notice the new feelings that arise as you become aware of the silver linings.
  2. 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!

 

Mansi Brat
Mansi is a psychotherapist at Still Waters Counseling. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lindenwood University, MO. She also earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of Toledo, OH with an emphasis in Mindfulness Meditation. Mansi values an integrative and strength-based counseling approach. She believes in holistic wellness that embodies the person as a “whole” – the physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, occupational, social, and environmental aspects of healing. Her philosophy resides on the foundational elements of instilling hope through creative transformation and sound intentionality. Incorporating these in unison, Mansi’s aim is to provide a sound space of comfort, warmth and trust that enables individual’s to find their purpose and meaning in life. Mansi is also a certified yoga instructor. Her journey began back in 2010 when she started exploring holistic forms of healing and wellness. As this exploration developed, she noticed subtle changes in her thoughts and perception of what it means to be well. More so, she developed a deep connection with her innermost self. For her, yoga is creating a space of awareness. It is in this awareness that the mind ceases to control all external worries and anxieties. Through her classes, she aims to teach her students the beauty of being present to the ‘now’. I invite you to experience a journey beyond yourself, uncovering boundless possibilities to rediscover your eternal self. Welcome aboard!

Comments

Dell Deaton's picture

Happened across a five-year record called The Happiness Project: One-Sentence Journal a few years ago.

Put together by Gretchen Rubin, each date consists of a page with space for five separate years, four lines per year. Unlike a diary, each entry must be something that makes you happy — or maybe a combination of things, but not to exceed space allowed. As the years pass, you'll not only make new entries but also see and have the opportunity to reflect back on the old.

When I recommend this to people, I add the stipulation that they go no more than three days on a single topic without taking a subsequent three-day break from it. For example, descriptions of great meals they've enjoyed, or, this time of years, giving too much momentum of activity types, such as parties.

Good, helpful article, Ms Brat. Thanks.