The best present you can give your family this season doesn’t cost a thing. So, what is this priceless gift, you ask? The best present is to be present! Time with family and friends nourishes the soul. It keeps you healthy both in body and spirit. To be fully present—to give your time and attention to the people around you—now that is a gift!
The only way to really enjoy life to the fullest is by being both present and mindful. You will appreciate everything you do and everyone you know so much more. In fact, you will even enjoy food more! While it’s not the easiest thing to do, let’s start by focusing on being present. Here are a few tips to get you going.
**Make a List, Check it Twice**
Before you venture out to your next holiday gathering, here’s a trick. Write down all the ways you are grateful for the friends and family that surround you this holiday season. Giving thanks opens our hearts. Making a list puts a focus on the positive qualities we find in our relationships. And what we focus on, we get more of!
You’ll find that with a positive mindset, it will be easier to enjoy your time with friends and family. And you know how I feel about positivity! Not only is it good for your emotional wellbeing, but it is good for your physical health too. Positive thinking helps you better manage stressful situations, which are abundant this time of year. And it can actually help you avoid illness and live a longer life!
**Give Yourself a Round of ‘A Pause’**
We know that spending time with family and friends can have its bumpy times. Not every relationship lends itself to positive thinking. So, in these moments, give yourself the gift of “a pause.” Your aunt is asking again why you haven’t found yourself a nice boy yet. And your dad is on you about your job search. Just give yourself a ten-second pause. If you know yourself to be more reactionary in this type of scenario, then this small gift allows you to be more mindful about your response.
Just ten seconds can help you flow through these cringe-worthy moments without the conflict. Take a deep breath and remember a positive approach will help melt away the stress. It is said that positive, mindful people are generally happier, more secure, and more accepting of their own weaknesses (3). And perhaps by not taking the bait, needling family members will also drop the routine. Instead, we can all focus on enjoying each other’s company.
**Power Down to Be Connected**
This one is easy. Turn off your phone. Don’t put it on vibrate; don’t turn on the “do not disturb” feature. Power down completely and hide your phone out of sight for awhile. Even if you do this for just 30 minutes, I guarantee you’ll feel more present! When we’re constantly connected to our smart phones and tablets, we tend to be more absent from life. Our bodies may be at the party, but our minds and hearts are elsewhere.
Experience the moment! And not from behind your phone screen. Digital distractions can be damaging to our relationships and our own spiritual presence. Don’t worry about missing out on that great photo op. Grandpa Bob with his new high-tech camera will gladly be the documentarian anyway. You know a slide show is coming your way…whether your phone is on or not!
1. Being present this holiday season is a gift to yourself and your family. Time shared with loved ones is good for your soul and for your body.
2. Before heading to spend time with friends and family, write down a list of why you are grateful for them. Giving thanks opens your heart and helps you focus your energy on the positive.
3. Give yourself the gift of “a pause” when dealing with difficult family members and friends. This gift will help you avoid conflict and flow with the spirit of the season!
4. Put away your phone. Completely. At least for a good 30 minutes, and simply allow yourself to enjoy the moment!
5. By being present you can savor your company and the moments that make the holidays memorable.