Cheerful. Grateful. Family. Happiness. Blessed. These are words that often come to mind around the holidays. However, no one talks about others that arise such as stress, defeat, sad, or guilt. By no means do I think you can’t be happy and cheerful about certain things and stressed or anxious about another. There are so many things going on around us that it can put us in a daze. Between gift shopping or figuring out logistics of plans, life is still going on and we are expected to smile, be happy, and feel blessed. However, that may not always be the case. You can’t force these feelings of happiness and the more you try, the harder it is to get there.

Do not let others convince you that just because you aren’t feeling joyful, thankful, or blissful in every moment, that you are “too negative” (if you have read my others posts, you know how I feel about being “too much” of anything) or not grateful. They are not looking through the same lens as you and you should not let their opinions dictate your feelings. Sometimes, we need to be honest with ourselves and try to separate from the shame or guilt that clouds our vision because you aren’t experiencing the societal expectations of constant gratitude. We all are individuals entirely made up by our experiences.

I have been teaching in my classes that when you begin to notice these feelings of being down, stressed, or overwhelmed to close your eyes and take a deep inhale slowly. Then open your mouth for an even longer exhale. Notice the sounds around you. The smell that fills the air. Feel the earth beneath you. Use your breath and senses to bring you back to the present moment.

Remember that no matter what life has thrown at you or what you are feeling in each moment, it is not you. You are you, here and now. You will never begin to relive this very moment; it is all temporary. Each fleeting moment. As you focus on this moment, try it through the lens of love, patience, and authenticity. Presence is a very underused experience that we replace with what has happened or what will. When you focus on this moment, it’s easier to let go of all the other thoughts and pressure flooding through and remember where you are right now.

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