This is the time of year when all of us are supposed to be filled with peace and joy and things should be “merry and bright.”
But, even though it’s all intended to be that way, many of us find the holiday season to be the hardest time of year and one of the most difficult periods to feel joy and harness inner peace.
There is so much going on in life.
Obligations: family obligations, financial obligations (gifts), social and work obligations (the dreaded holiday parties), food obligations – all of the obligations. Let’s face it – if there’ssomething that stresses you out, it WILL appear in your life this time of year.
So, What Do We Do About It?
“Peace be with you.”
It seems simple, of course it does. And, really the philosophy is simple: seek peace and all the other stuff will go away.
Peace can be defined as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”
(According to Merriam Webster).
It sounds happy and grand. But there is a difference, a profound difference between the two:
“Happiness is nothing more than a fleeting emotion, and [its attainment and] success can be taken from us just as easily as it can be gained. But true inner peace is permanent.”
Ah, so peace is permanent “happiness.” That’s sounds tranquil, especially this time of year when the stress-o-meter needle is about to break.
“When one attains inner peace, he/she finds the ability to cope, in a healthy way, with any event or situation happening around. Inner peace does not take away or eliminate our anxieties or fears, rather inner peace allows us to cope with those anxieties and fears.”-Chris Shea, Life’s Journey Blog
Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”
Some practical approaches to finding peace, even with the holiday bubble is about to burst and you’re reaching for yet another glass of rum-spiced eggnog, include:
- Setting Boundaries– Decide what you’re willing to put up with in a given circumstance, and stick to your decision. It may seem awkward at first, but it benefits everyone in the long run.
- Setting Limits – Just like when you are setting boundaries with people, set your personal limits in terms of time and of what you will commit to do during the busy season. Block out “me time” on your schedule to make sure you stick to your limits.
- Finding a Relaxation Strategy – Find something you really enjoy doing and that helps YOU to relax. I like to cook; my husband likes to play his guitar; and my best friend likes to paint. Whatever floats your boat – find it and DO IT for a few minutes every day.
- Minimizing – Yes, clearing clutter from your space will also clear clutter from your mind and heart. Get rid of the crap, literally and figuratively. The less you have the less there is to stress and worry about, right?
- Breathing – This little necessary technique in life works wonders in terms of calming the mind and the body and seeking out momentary and lasting peace. Long deep breaths – deep inhales and deep exhales – drastically calm the stress response in the nervous system and in the entire body. Breathing is essential and creates a mindful experience in the moment, when you think about it.
And then, always remember The Four Agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us how to seek peace each and every day.
- Be Impeccable with Your Word (Be Honest)
- Don’t Take Anything Personally (It’s NOT About You)
- Don’t Make Assumptions (Really, It’s NOT About YOU)
- Always Do Your Best
And, amid the holiday hams, peppermint mocha lattes, and crazy Christmas cookie exchanges, may peace be with you.