Conquering Thanksgiving Stress: Tips on Creating Harmony for the Holidays

     While
holidays open the door to additional stress, they can also present
opportunities to find meaning through turning them into spiritual
practice.  If we want to make the world a
better place, where better to begin than at home?  By paying attention to the challenges presented
during family gatherings, we can consciously let go of past hurts, sacrifice
the need to be the center of attention and help mend relations with
others.

For many families, the Thanksgiving holidays bring together
people who may not always get along. 
Grudges, anger, feelings of hurt and despair along with expectations and
hopes may lurk beneath the surface of the celebrations and lead to discontent,
distress and pain.  Here are a few tips
on how to elevate your spirit and contribute to a peaceful Thanksgiving

1)      Forgive
someone today.  Make a conscious effort
to let go of the hurts related to someone you have to face during the holidays.  You may want to write about your feelings on
a piece of paper.  Then tear it up and throw
it away.  Get rid of the baggage of
grudges and move into the Thanksgiving celebration feeling lighter and
happier. 

2)      Identify
a weakness you aim to overcome.   Do you
always erupt at your brother or tell off your father?  Do your pick on a sibling?  Consider what you will do to consciously
change your attitude and behavior.  Do
you intend to be more helpful and supportive? 
Do you plan to practice patience and kindness or simply speak less?  Remember change begins within you first.

3)      Pay
attention to your speech.  By sticking to
kind words and words that encourage and build confidence in others, you will
change the atmosphere of a gathering and help to create more harmony.  

4)  Listen
to an elder or pay attention to a child who may need you.  Your small acts of thoughtfulness can
brighten their day.

5)      Say
“I’m sorry.”  When hurtful words slip out
or negative actions take over, apologize and really mean it.

Decide your spiritual intent prior to the dinners and
parties and consider how you might actively do the things you’ve identified and
then act.  At the beginning of the day
before your gatherings, recall your decisions and recommit to them.  During the day, make conscious efforts to do
what you planned and finally at the end of the day before going to bed, assess
how youself. 

 If you did okay note your progress and know there’s more to
do.  If you failed, then take note, but
don’t beat yourself up.  Make the efforts
to do better the next time and then do it. 
You’ll have another opportunity to practice at Christmastime.  In this way, the holidays become more
meaningful and profound and you can contribute to making the world a more
peaceful place.  Peace on earth starts at
home and every small step counts.  Happy Gratitude
Day!

copyright Debra Moffitt-Leslie, Nov. 2009   http://www.debramoffitt.com

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