We’re in full swing for the holiday season, just on the heels of one of the most difficult and emotional election seasons ever. Many people I’ve talked to over the past few weeks are feeling anxious about the way things are so divided and wondering how we’ll all find peace and harmony with our loved ones and communities, especially now during the holidays What can we do to bring peace and joy back? How can we begin to heal the divides that have occurred among us?
It is important not to take in the whole world at once. Instead, just for now, draw your world in a bit smaller and focus on those closest to you. Use these 4 steps to guide you to the peace and connection that will make your world right again.
First, focus inward Start with you. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and drop into your center. Take a slow, deep breath in, following it to your full capacity. Hold it for 5 or more seconds and listen for the soft beat of your heart setting a cadence. Let your breath out slowly, visualizing a peaceful color coming from your heart, through your lungs and out into the world. Do this 2-3 times and sit quietly with yourself with no agenda, just you with you. This will help you find your footing when you feel off balance.
Second, look to kindness If you’re feeling worried and want some peace and joy, focus on your intentions and actions. Here’s the clue…What you need, is what you need to give. So, prescriptively, perform acts of kindness for a stranger or for someone you know, especially someone with whom you’ve been upset. Something as simple as sending a sweet email of encouragement, holding a door open for someone, smiling and saying hello, or even secretly paying for coffee for the next person in line at the coffee shop can make a big difference. Kindness has a way of drastically and immediately changing your energy, inspiring forgiveness, and lighting up the heart. The more you do it, the greater the effect. It’s a double blessing.
Third, listen to understand and connect. To heal the divide you might be feeling with your people, whether caused by the latest election season or anything else for that matter, focus on listening to understand, not to respond. Put aside politics and disagreements and find a common road. It could be as easy as sharing a passion for a certain sport, talking about a recent movie or book, or sharing a common experience. The goal here is a comfortable connection.
Fourth, seek support. If this year has been challenging for you and has left you feeling overwhelmed and alone, reach out for support from a good friend or a counselor. There is simply nothing like the expert attention you get from a trained and intuitive listener such as a licensed therapist. Give yourself the gift of a counseling session for the holidays so you can ring in the New Year with a true sense of peace and purpose. I am here for you. I would love nothing more than to help you lighten your heart and find your peace and joy.
Terry Barnett-Martin, LMFT, Licensed Relationship Therapist and Life Purpose Coach, is the award winning author of Tending Fences: Building Safe and Healthy Relationship Boundaries. (949)709-2445 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites:www.tendingfences.com www.truepurposecounseling.com