Thanksgiving through New Years is the time in America when we celebrate peace -- at least in theory. It's the time of year we're encouraged to remember that peace on earth begins with peace in our own hearts.
So the cure to holiday stress is simple. Make the holidays about the opposite of stress, which is peace, which is the one thing the holidays are meant to be about. Make peace the quality you aspire to be every day this holiday season.
Peace is not hard; stress is hard. Peace is incredibly simple. The more you practice peace, the easier it gets, and the easier your life becomes.
Below are 10 simple qualities of peace displayed in gray boxes. Directly below each box is a simple approach to achieving each quality. Look them over and choose the ones that speak to you and your situation, then turn it into a daily practice.
Qualities and Practices for a Peaceful Holiday1. Peace is quiet, so each morning this holiday season wake up a little earlier ahead of the rush. Start your day in quiet in a place where you won't be disturbed.
- Follow your breathing.
- Imagine each breath softening your heart and opening it wider.
- Feel appreciation for the gift of another day of life.
- Feel appreciation for another day to be with the ones you love.
- Set the intention to have a great day, achieving meaningful results in your work.
- Equally, set the intention to succeed at love, peace and joy.
- Every couple of hours each day, step away from the rat race.
- Observe what the sky is doing.
- Watch the wind blow, the sun shine, or the snow fall.
- Allow yourself to feel connected to life.
- Name three things that happened during the previous week for which you are grateful.
- Then name three things of your life, generally, for which you feel blessed.
- Tell yourself to go a little slower, and not to be so nervous or negative.
- Open your heart a little wider.
- Practice thinking less and loving more.
- Tell yourself and often that everything is going to be alright.
- Refocus your attention on this moment, right here, right now, and allow life to surprise you.
- Forgive everyone, including yourself.
- Forgive every bad thing that has happened, is happening now, and is sure to happen again.
- Forgive the past so completely that you're standing in the present facing the future with vision.
- Peace doesn't eat too much or spend too much or withhold too much.
- Peace doesn't argue, defend or complain.
- It changes the things it can change, accepts the things it can't change, and it can tell the difference between the two.
- Peace is not codependent. It's no one's fool and no one's doormat. It's smart enough to walk away from dysfunction and stand out of harm's way.
- So don't worry about anything this holiday season.
- Practice letting go of outcomes and trusting the process.
- Don't judge yourself when you slip up, become stressed, or behave badly.
- The same goes for other people's mistakes, nonsense, and blunders.
- Let it all go and start over, renewing your intention to be at peace.
- If you are not at peace, use the back door. Be at peace with your non-peace.
- There is no degree of stress in any situation that faith cannot soften.
- Often the problem in life is not the situation we face but the lack of faith with which we face it.
It's a no brainer. You will have a happier, less stressful holiday if you commit to practicing even three of the above. The better angels of your nature will come out and create a holiday to remember.