Christmas is the time for fun, festivity, family, and friends. It essentially puts our relationships and interactions with others at the center stage. However, at times, close relationships can present considerable challenges. This can cause family gatherings to be the potential ground for conflict and tension. Incidentally, Christmas also brings some amount of pressure and anxiety for most. For those who are single, the collective opinion of others that they ought to be in a relationship is strengthened. For people with young families, there is pressure to ensure that their children feel the magic of Christmas and behave.
Despite these factors, Christmas remains perfect for fostering warmth and togetherness in a genuine manner. It is important to stay calm and level-headed to make the most out of this season. By practicing mindfulness, you can add more intention, integrity, and presence to it.
Here are some tips to bust the pressure and have a mindful Christmas:
1. Let Go of Expectations
At this time of the year, we tend to be bombarded with images of Christmas ideals of harmony, unity, and joy. The reality, however, can be very different and complex, especially where close relationships are concerned. So, to enjoy the festive season to the fullest you can choose to let go of all expectations and desires. Instead, you can be mindfully present in your communication and interaction as and when they take place.
2. Practice Being Grateful
The habit of writing in a journal all the things that you are grateful for is immensely beneficial. Practice doing this every day before going to bed. If you find this tedious, practice consciously feeling grateful. It is common for thankfulness to slip out of mind. This is where frustration and stress get the better of us. However, being grateful is a life-changing stance that can induce positivity. When we start experiencing gratitude for every blessing in life, even when it is something as simple as our eyesight and mobility, Christmas becomes the time to feel good. There is a transition from a place of anxiety to one of calm acceptance.
3. See the Best in Others
It can be a challenge to deal with difficult family members and relatives. Try to overlook their outward behavior and see the good, or rather best, in them. It is always possible to find some redeeming qualities such as humor, generosity, kindness, or simply positive intentions. When you are on the lookout for these traits, a great transformation in your interactions takes place. The decision to stay open toward only the good qualities will make you experience a more soulful Christmas.
4. Practice Mini-Mindfulness Meditations
It is a good idea to practice mindfulness meditation on a day-to-day basis, as this induces a positive vibe. Try it specifically before going out for Christmas shopping. Sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing. This will help you feel inner peace and calmness. When standing in a line for Christmas presents, concentrate on straightening yourself and breathing slowly and deeply. Accept your annoyance and then appreciate the pleasant things that are around. This can include marveling at the decorations and glitter as well as the sight of happy faces. Feel the air filling in your lungs and appreciate the challenge of standing still for a short period. Resist the urge to fiddle with your phone. If you feel physical discomfort, take slow, deep breaths to reduce your level of anxiety.
5. Do Random Acts of Kindness
Christmas is a great opportunity to carry out random acts of kindness and make a difference in the lives of others. Consider sending a heartfelt letter to a loved one, giving away clothes and items you don’t need any longer, donating to a charitable organization, making Christmas cookies for your friends, surprising someone with a gift, paying a compliment to someone, and so on. Feeding the birds in your garden or the ducks in your park are also small acts of kindness. All such deeds can give you a sense of worthiness and well-being. They help you feel good about yourself at Christmas.
6. Take a Walk in Nature
Walking in nature is a great boost for happiness. When you are amid nature, try to notice everything around you such as the leaves swaying in the wind and birds hiding in the trees. Look at the clouds. Breathe in the cool air. These acts help in appreciating the present and realizing the transience of life. It is too short to be wasted in stressing over things that upset you. Instead, experiencing and treasuring the beauty of nature every day will make you feel relaxed. It will make you welcome Christmas from within.
7. Listen with Genuine Interest
You can be more mindful by being curious and open-minded in your conversations. Try to listen with patience and acceptance. Even when you don’t agree with what the other person is saying, be open to their points of view. Listen to them with the intention of genuinely understanding, not judging. In this way, the person voicing their thoughts gets to feel respected and valued.
8. Make Room for Emotions
Christmas often brings with it a wide array of emotions, ranging from warmth and joy to loneliness caused by memories of lost loved ones, or bitterness and discord stemming from quarrels. You can acknowledge your emotions when they arise without acting on or reacting to them. Simply let the emotion pass through your awareness without judging or feeling overwhelmed.
The above measures can dispel any feelings of fear and tension that may come along with Christmas. Each step you take will move you away from your previously anxious self. Use this Christmas to be mindful and jumpstart into the year ahead, feeling happier and healthier.