Staying Focused During the Holidays
Do you practice gratitude?
by Successful Aging in Action! | 12.2.19
By: Masterpiece Living
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks. Dressed in holiday style. In the air there's a feeling of Christmas: children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile..."
If only reality were more reminiscent of those holiday songs, where it's always the "most wonderful time of the year." But for many people, the holidays are a time of great stress. Reportedly, the holiday season is ranked the sixth most stressful life event, ranking right up there with divorce, starting a new job and moving.
What is it that consumes us? Our to-do lists? Traffic and crowds? Family drama? Financial worries? Or perhaps it's the intense sadness when we remember lost loved ones. As we reach the end of another year, we naturally reflect on what the year brought us. But sometimes, we tend to focus on the negative, and not the positive.
Gautama Buddha tells us, "We are what we think. All that we are arises from our thoughts. We make the world." This quote tells us of a profound but very elusive truth ... We choose happiness. What will you choose to focus on this holiday season?
As we approach the New Year here are some tips for navigating the way from the sometimes bumpy road of cynicism to a path of contentment and joy.
Three Tips for Finding Focus and Joy
1. Have an Other-Centered Task List - Instead of making your to-do list a dreaded chore, think of these tasks as acts of kindness and giving that will make someone happy. And as you make your way through the hustle and bustle of crowded streets and stores, think of how wonderful it is that all of us, as a whole, are united with a common goal of celebration.
2. Be Present: Don't Miss the Holiday Experience - Wherever you are (Traffic? A long line?) - BE there. Observe those around you and revel in the decorations, the lights, the music and the faces of children. The world is indeed a wonderful place.
3. Be Grateful - Research consistently tells us that those who express gratitude are happier than those who do not. If we focus on being grateful for what we have rather than what we've lost or what we want, how can we be anything but happy? Make it a practice when you awaken and when you go to bed to reflect on several things that you are grateful for.
*Originally printed in Masterpiece Living's 2017 Mosaic
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