Barb Schmidt, author of THE PRACTICE: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness, believes outer peace begins with inner peace – keep yourself calm so you can handle the pressures of everyone and everything else so you don’t blow it! When it comes to raising a family during this beautiful but busy season, think about this: when you reflect back on your own childhood holiday memories, it most likely isn’t the toys you received that come to mind, but rather the time spent with family and friends. This is when you know deeply that it is your presence—not the presents—that really matter most.
Barb offers these expanded tips to help all of us enjoy the holidays season and not fall under its pressures.
1. On Christmas morning, or whatever holiday you celebrate, start your day in silence, calmness for 5 minutes. When you wake up and stop first thing in the morning you give yourself the chance to be connected to the spirit of the holiday with peace, power and calm . Starting the day like this gives you the opportunity to connect to this peace within when the day starts getting hectic or stressed.
2. Make a to do list on paper or in your head, maybe it now includes extra things like how to fit in all your gift giving party planning, dinners with extended family, etc. Prioritize the list, and then cross the last thing off. It’s at the end, low priority and it can wait! We try to do too many things during the course of the day, especially during the holidays, and this is a huge stressor. With the list shortened we add space, breathing room to our day.
3. As you transition from one event or moment in your day, instead of letting the mind worry, think, or be anxious try breathing, bringing your mind back to the present moment. With all the extra demands on your time during the holidays this is especially important.
4. Do your best in every situation but give up the need to be perfect. You don’t have to be the perfect weight or have the prettiest holiday party dress to feel good about yourself. Give up the need to compare yourself with others and stay in the moment giving the moment your best.
5. Say no to things you really don’t want to do. Do you really have to accept every invitation you receive during the holidays to attend a party or visit someone? Give yourself permission to say no. Think about what’s being asked of you and if it doesn’t serve your highest and greatest good, or plan for the day say no.
6. Especially during the holiday season, it’s super important to make a list for what you need at the grocery stores and shopping malls and stick to what’s on the list. Too often we set out to shop and get caught up in browsing, using up our precious energy and time for the other things we need to do in the day. Keep your mind focused, if you start to become bored and wander, take a few breaths and bring yourself back to the moment, back to your list.
7. Keep a gratitude journal during the holidays. Keep it by your bedside and either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening write down one thing you are grateful for in your life or day. Just one- no more! Keep this the whole season and I bet you’ll be surprised that you may not have repeated a gratitude!
Barb Schmidt is founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful World, a community outreach program through Florida Atlantic University (FAU) designed to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace by incorporating workshops and weekly teachings with Barb and many of her esteemed mentors, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Andrew Weil, and many others.
Barb is also the founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, a non-profit organization through which she teaches The Practice, a three-part guide to practical spirituality in the modern world and her tool for spreading her belief that “outer peace begins with inner peace.” Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life has rapidly expanded to include an online community via Facebook (with posts reaching over 10 million people), through their daily inspirational emails and weekly blogs. http://peacefulmindpeacefullife.org/blog/