Coasting Along: Finding Gratitude and Calm

Lorie-

What are you thankful for? This time of year reminds us of why we should be grateful. Thankful and grateful are words that describe how we feel when we think about our lives.

Ep. 89

It’s a busy time of the year with the holidays, family gatherings, shopping and short tempers. Sure it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. So, how do you protect yourself? How do you find the calm in the middle of it all?

Sometimes we need a little help. Today I’m offering you a short breathing practice to help you regain Clarity and calm and allow you to really enjoy those precious moments ahead of you.

Today we’re going to be talking about finding gratitude and how to stay calm when life can get a little crazy.

Here are six ways to be grateful.

1) Be thankful for what you have. You might not have everything you want right now, but you do have enough to live comfortably. 

2) Be thankful for the people in your life. It’s easy to forget about the people who make your life better. They’re often the ones who give you the greatest gifts. Remember new friends, new family members too.

3) Be thankful for the opportunities you have. There are so many people out there who would love to have the same opportunities as you. It’s all a matter of perspective 

4) Be thankful for the lessons you learn. Life teaches us so much through experiences. I can’t say that anyone should be pushed to the level that we are in life. So all we can do is extract what those experiences have brought us and how we’ve grown through that 

5) Be thankful for the memories you share with others. Remembering the special moments you’ve had with family and friends can put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

6) Be thankful for the future you have In front of you.  Regardless of what is going on right now. we can decide how we feel. we have that control. We have the opportunity to make this time right now the most incredible connection to others. To feel loved and share love. To share hope.

Give Thanks for the People Who Help You Along the Way.

Being grateful for the people who help you along the way is one of the easiest ways to improve your mood. In fact, research shows that being more appreciative of those around you makes you happier. So, take some time today to think about the people who have helped you throughout your life. Through any recent concerns or bumps in the road. Then, write down those people you are thankful for and why.

Appreciate the Things You Already Have.

It’s easy to forget how lucky we are when we’re surrounded by so much negativity. However, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful for what we already have. For example, we often overlook the simple pleasures in our lives, such as having food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads. We also tend to focus too much on the negative aspects of our lives, such as our jobs, relationships, health challenges and finances.Yes these are all realities. But they don’t need to be the focus. I get it. See, I’ve been there. It seems like that’s all you can think about is the negative because you just keep getting hit with all these situations and hurdles to get over. acknowledge those things but then move on. Search for what is going to make you happy and what is going to recharge you. remember the healing that happens not only in our minds but in our bodies when we find that happy place. 

If you still feel like there’s something off and you’re not connecting to the feelings of Gratitude,  I want to help you find a way to get through any of those unsettling or overwhelming thoughts as we approach this magical and loving time of the year.

I would love for you to take these few minutes to work on improving your outlook and calming your mind. 

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From Psychology Today

Five Ways to Remain Calm This Holiday Season

How to better enjoy the holidays.

As the holidays approach and many of us look forward to celebrating with our families and loved ones, there can also be heightened stress and anxiety associated with the festivities. For instance, oftentimes we visit family or friends who we may otherwise not see regularly, and old tensions or unresolved conflicts can be brought to the surface. The added political divisiveness in the culture right now, the potential rise in expenses incurred (travel, gifts), and/or the oftentimes heightened expectations for perfection during this time of year, can lead to individuals being under undue pressure during this season. For those of us who have suffered losses or are mourning loved ones, the holiday season can also pose specific challenges as we grapple with how to move forward in the wake of such absences.

Perhaps it is important to take time to reflect on what your intentions are for the upcoming holiday season, and to think about how you can minimize anxiety or pressure associated with the festivities, and better tap into the true spirit associated with these events. Here is my list of five ways to maintain your calm this holiday season, and make the most of your time, whether with family, friends, a combination of the two, or even by yourself:

Take time for yourself. There is often an added busyness to the holiday season, where you may feel increasing pressure say yes to every invitation and person. Particularly those of us traveling to visit family or friends, we may feel obligated to do as much as possible during our trips. The American Psychological Association, in recognizing the potential for added stress during the holidays, specifically advises that individuals take time for themselves during this time of year (“Making the most of the holiday season,” 2017). That means take time for self-care even if you find yourself in the position of visiting others or traveling for the holidays. Whatever your stress reliever is during your regular routine—be it yoga or working out or journaling—make sure that you find the time and space to maintain those habits during the holidays. The holidays raise expectations of spending our time with others, which is, of course, important, but in order to be able to best be there for our loved ones, we need to remember to take care of ourselves.

Maintain gratitude for what is. Much of the pressure we may feel during the holidays is associated with wanting to control what happens or how things play out. Instead of imagining how things could be better, try to just accept things for how they are. To take it even a step further, try to identify specific things in your life right now that you are grateful for. Mindful magazine, for instance, identifies that “gratitude goes a long way when it comes to overall wellness” (Wolkin, 2016, para 15). So rather than dwelling on what isn’t working, try to focus on what is. Simply re-framing one’s thinking about things and taking on a perspective from a place of gratitude can be very empowering.

Let go of notions of perfection. As an extension of gratitude, surrender your notions of perfection. Try to maintain a realistic notion of what can and cannot be accomplished during this time of year. The gifts don’t have to be perfect, the meals don’t have to be perfect—the point is to just get loved ones in the same room and to celebrate. And guess what, those relationships won’t be perfect either! So embrace the chaos, surrender that voice in your head that is insisting you do more or be better, and recognize that slip-ups are an inevitable part of any day. Don’t get caught up in the trap of perfection, recognize that things will likely not abide by all of the notions you have in your head, and try to accept whatever happens as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Practice kindness. That relative with a different political view than yours, that neighbor who just won’t stop talking about things you find boring, the incessant noise from the television that the kids just won’t lower—practice being patient with the parts of other people that frustrate you, and as an extension of that patience, remind yourself to be kind. Most people likely have their own anxieties and stress going into the holiday season, so if you try to approach each person you encounter with greater kindness, perhaps everyone will relax more and enjoy the moment. Instead of adding to the stress during holiday travel, for instance, try to find ways to show kindness towards other travelers who are similarly stressed as they try to make it to their destinations. Kindness is a practice because sometimes it can take effort, but over time it can become our default habit. Moreover, self-kindness is also important—be gentler not only with others, but with yourself during this time of year as well.

No shame in opting out. If the idea of spending time at a relative’s house or attending another holiday party triggers a disproportionate amount of stress for you, consider opting out this year. The holidays should be about celebration, and if you can’t muster enthusiasm or interest in certain events, then there is no shame in saying no. Identify your own boundaries and recognize what obligations you are capable of fulfilling and which ones just don’t work for you. Don’t feel bullied or pressured into meeting another person’s expectations if they conflict with your needs or the needs of your loved ones.

If you feel overwhelmed financially or unable to afford buying elaborate gifts this holiday season, for instance, there is no shame in deciding to show your affection or celebrate the holidays in a way that doesn’t require buying to excess. Find what works for you, share that with your loved ones, and enjoy the holidays on your own terms.

The takeaway is that there shouldn’t be a holiday script that all of us have to follow if it is just triggering stress or undue pressure on us. Do what feels right for you and your loved ones and find a way to tap into the spirit of the holiday season without all of the stress and noise associated with it. As we reflect on the meaning of the holidays, Wolkin (2016) advises that, “taking the time to mindfully reflect on what matters, whether it be religion or tradition, or even the healing power of love, helps us keep our perspective as the year draws to a close” (para 11).

With that in mind, I bid you all a happy (and sane) holiday season.

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Remember~ Stay Anchored ⚓

Listen to this important episode to hear more.

How do you sail through life? Join me on this endeavor! I would love to grow this amazing support community!

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Published by Lorie

Hello and welcome to Sailing Through Life! My name is Lorie. I am a 2-time melanoma cancer survivor and a sailor - in my heart and on the water. I want to be a beacon of light to others with life challenges and be an inspiration to stay positive while going through these life-altering events. Join me as I set sail on this new adventure... Sailing Through Life.

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