I’m just going to say it … I think the holiday season needs a radical overhaul.
We see ads for the perfect holiday meals, served in a lovely setting where everyone is smiling, especially the gracious host. Truth is, in order to achieve this type of perfection, we nearly kill ourselves with stress trying to get that end result.
I’m sure your mind, like mine, is kicked into high gear this time of year to attend to the million things you have to accomplish between now and January first, but time is limited and your body begins to suffer. It will only be a short time before insomnia and exhaustion set in. Instead of enjoying our time with loved ones, we can wind up emotionally unavailable and stressed out.
This is the time of year when people are often either excited to celebrate the holidays or they are feeling a sense of dread about what might be coming during this sometimes stressful season. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we want to be happy.
As I was thinking about happiness, it came to me that a key to happiness involves circulation. By that I mean that true happiness comes from giving and receiving. The kind of sharing that involves the heart and the willingness to share without any expectations.
The holidays are a festive — and often frantic — time of year, with family and friends gathering together. The setting for all these celebrations takes place in our homes, where creating comfort for our guests is the primary focus.
It feels like with every passing year, the holiday craziness creeps up a little faster. While I love the true spirit of the holidays — time with family, generosity, celebration — I do find that the stress of keeping up with everything makes for some sleepless nights.
Apparently I’m not alone. Many people say that they have trouble calming their minds at night as the year dips into winter and the holiday festivities begin. Some people even resort to sleeping pills to get through until the New Year.
Fortunately, I have found that meditation works so much better than sleeping pills — and there are no troublesome side effects to worry about. The following meditation techniques are favorites of mine, and they work wonders to help me slip gently into sleep at night.
For both of these techniques, start by getting comfortable in your bed. Lie on your back with your arms resting lightly at your sides.
The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Ironically, many of us find ourselves strung out and unhappy at a time when we expect to be at our happiest. How you handle the stress of the holiday season has a lot to do with the kind of person your are. Knowing that, you can use specific strategies to deal with holiday demands and make the season what is was meant to be: joyous.
Around Thanksgiving, I’m drawn to the subject of gratitude and how to put it into practice on a daily basis. I have to admit, I’m not ready for the typical stress of the holiday season and am on a mission to keep the season as stress-free as possible with a mixture of appreciation for all that I have and awareness of all I can give.
Thinking about Thanksgiving prompted me to write this blog. I saved it to my computer, planning to post it online as soon as I got a chance. Then coincidentally I heard a radio interview with psychologist Robert Emmons, author of a book called Thanks. Emmons has spent years studying positive psychology, and in the interview he pointed out that gratitude is more than a tool for self-improvement. “Gratitude is a way of life,” he said, noting how being grateful can improve your health physically as well as mentally.
This month’s Spiritual Cinema Circle film collection is all about overcoming the odds.
It Ain’t Over is a story of hope from a man with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) who has been defying medical odds for over a decade. Granny’s Got Game follows a group of women in their seventies who have been playing basketball together for nearly 20 years. The Birdman celebrates a shopkeeper in New York City who has maintained a sanctuary for music lovers in the midst of the digital age.
This month’s film program is all about love and inspiration.
In Jillian’s Vantage, a couple on a blind date learn to see from one another’s perspective.
In The Most Beautiful Thing, two teenagers getting ready for the school dance teach each other about communication and compassion.
In Revelations, a man’s life is judged in an unexpected way.
Autumn has arrived, and with it, I always feel the need to turn within to find balance between the lightness I felt during the warm summer days and the sudden desire to stay cozy and warm inside, as the temperatures cool outside.
Watching leaves float to the ground is a reminder that our lives are a mirror of nature’s cycles and that everything is in a state of impermanence. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that no longer serve us.