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Cultivating Peace This Holiday Season

The time of year has arrived where lots of us are planning to gather with loved ones. The holiday season can be a time of joy, but also a time of disturbed peace. Gathering with folks is an opportunity to exercise your boundaries and be consistent with both your words and actions.

Before getting together for a feast, game night, or a mix of the two consider if you truly want to attend. If you decide to go be intentional with how you prepare your mind. If you know you may feel overwhelmed at the event then practice visualizing your favorite place to go to fully relax and reset. Picture the scenery with as much detail as possible. How do you feel there? What are you doing there?

Once at the event, and before getting up-close and personal with your people take deep breaths using box breathing: inhale deeply through your nose for 4 secs. Hold your breath for 4 secs. Exhale through your mouth for 4 secs, and repeat until you feel centered. This takes however long it takes so give yourself ample time if recent history has shown that you'll need to repeat this deep breathing exercise more than 3 times.

While at the event it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to how your body is responding. If your heartrate is increasing, you begin to breathe shallowly, your palms are sweating, or you begin to feel like you need to escape engage in grounding exercises. Use your five senses to ground you in the present moment. With your eyes, observe the different colors you see (red cups, white dominoes, yellowish golden mac n cheese.) With your nose, take in the different scents and aromas (sweet potato pies baking, turkey roasting, cigars smoking). With your fingertips/ hands, list the different textures you feel (i.e. smooth suede, rough corduroy, slippery patent leather.) With you mouth, taste the different flavors (sweet, savory, tart, bitter.) With your ears, listen to the voices of laughter, singing, chattering, and well-wishing.

Mindfulness is a great way to cultivate and harvest peace this season. Be firm in how you share with others. Exude confidence in verbalizing your boundaries without over-explaining. Whomever you choose to surround yourself with is your choice. I invite you to choose wisely.

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