It’s hard to build a gratitude attitude when it’s so easy to get thrown out of balance by the details and pressures of trying to make the holidays magical.
We can overlook what truly matters because we’re so buried in busyness.
If you’re like me, Thanksgiving and the holiday season fills us with joyful anticipation but also comes with a few extra helpings of stress and overwhelm. While we welcome warm family traditions, new and old, we often carry the burden of feeling like we are not enough and that we are not doing enough.
From pre-Thanksgiving straight through New Year’s Eve, we run around like maniacs, never feeling like we’ve done enough; scrambling around to handle every holiday detail and to try to please every person we care about (except ourselves).
Not feeling enough is the fastest path away from feeling the peace and happiness we deserve.
And it’s also the quickest route into overwhelm and emotional distress.
We want to slow down and to enjoy the season, but most of us end up over-doing, over-spending, over-committing, over-prepping, over-decorating, over-shopping… overwhelming ourselves and ending up either sick or exhausted, or both.
We want everything to be so perfect and that usually means handling it ourselves.
From the appetizers to dessert, from how the table is set to figuring out who is or who isn’t coming to dinner.
The holiday fairy tale in our head doesn’t usually turn into our reality.
Inevitably, something doesn’t meet our (or someone else’s) expectations.
Your turkey is too dry. Your turkey is too moist. The tablecloth has a stain. The candles won’t light. You didn’t realize your son’s girlfriend is vegan. You burnt the pie crust. Your pants are too tight. There’s a big red pimple on nose. Your mother-in-law is two hours late. Need I continue?
Where does the pressure we put ourselves under and the anxiety we’ve built up in ourselves end?
It can end when you collapse or… it can end with the best solution to holiday frazzle: gratitude!
“Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.” – Rumi, 13th century poet and scholar
Gratitude never fails to pack a powerful and peace-giving punch! If you haven’t tried it yet – it’s the (peace) bomb!
A gratitude attitude is the antidote to holiday overwhelm!
Because it’s so simple! And always available!
We just seem to forget how to tap into it after we’ve gotten ourselves into a overwhelm tailspin.
Gratitude leads to peace.
I don’t care how dry your turkey was or who didn’t like your sweet potato pie – YOU DESERVE PEACE.
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The peace is always waiting for you. I promise – it’s always there.
It’s in that centered, grounded grateful place that is always in your heart, just waiting for you to tap into it.
And it literally takes only seconds to get there.
Easy as counting to three! 1. Stop. 2. Take a breath. 3. Refocus.
Gratitude is a simple as taking a few seconds to refocus on what is good. On what is enough.
Start with the basics.
You are breathing. You are here. You are alive to experience the moment. You have senses. You can taste and smell and feel and love. You have food. Getting the idea?
I guarantee when you do this, you will easily come up with so many more reasons to feel peace, to feel up, blessed and grateful than to feel disappointed, discouraged or down.
“You simply will not be the same person after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: The more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
No matter how imperfect reality turns out to be versus our fairy tale expectations, it can always be worse.
Much worse! Regardless of how this moment might not be everything you hoped it would be, or that you’re dealing with challenges and circumstances you didn’t want nor expect, it can be dramatically worse.
There is always a bright side. Always. You just have to look for it.
A gratitude attitude is a learned habit.
Anyone can build a gratitude attitude. And as with other healthful habits, practice makes it more routine. The more often you stop, take a breath and refocus, the stronger your gratitude habit becomes.
And do I need to remind you what will happen if you choose not to embrace and nourish a gratitude habit?
You will find it difficult to be mindfully present, to live fully, to appreciate and dig deeply into just how blessed you are. You will run around frazzled, overwhelmed and disappointed about the little stuff, rather than feeling gratitude for the big stuff – the things that truly matter.
Counting even one blessing and finding just one reason to feel gratitude is enough to turn your mind around.
The second you feel even the slightest gratitude you will feel more peace than you felt the second before.
Perhaps finding and feeling that instance of peace will be the pivot point for the rest of your day.
If you could create a habit of tapping into gratitude and peace more often, what else could change in your life?
This Thanksgiving – I challenge you to write the word “STOP” on your inner wrist. Or even just place a sharpie dot on your wrist or hand where you’ll see it.
It will serve as the private prompt and reminder to bring yourself back to stop, breathe and refocus. To be mindful and feel gratitude for what is (rather than what isn’t).
With cheer and a gratitude attitude, let us find balance and peace… and let the holiday season commence! – Marlene
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