For many of us, this time of year can be filled with expectations, and with those expectations we create fertile ground for emotions leading to disappointment. Even in the midst of joyful times, emotions can be triggered that cause us to be hard on ourselves and others. Mindfulness practice helps us notice what is happening and, with awareness, engage more skillfully and in alignment with our values.
This holiday season and as we transition to the New Year, consider experimenting with one of the following practices or create one of your own.
Tend to the heart with a compassion practice and nourishing activities.
Offering phrases of loving-kindness to ourselves and others can soften and open the heart.
May I be safe and well
May I be peaceful
May I live with ease, with joy and with kindness
Sometimes the simple reminder that we all want to be happy or we’re all doing the best we can allows us to stay present more easily. Acts of kindness and generosity also fill the heart.
Hold emotions like baby birds, noticing and gently making space for them in the moment.
As we notice emotions, often through signals in the body, simply noting sensations and feelings like “disappointment”, “joy”, or “this is what sadness feels like” can reduce reactivity and provide enough space to help us be with what is arising.
A gentle reminder that everyone feels this way sometimes and that emotions change and pass may be helpful.
Notice the good with gratitude practice.
Bringing awareness to laughter and fun can enrich the moment. In the midst of more challenging emotions, we can also notice the good. Through a practice of writing three things we are grateful for or simply recalling these moments at the end of a busy day, we cultivate the ability to notice more of the good.
I am safe, well fed and have a strong healthy body
I am grateful for laughter around the dinner table
I am loved
… And at any moment, we can simply pause and breathe.