The quest for the perfect Christmas can leave you feeling tired, stressed and almost wishing the holidays away, but it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way. Author of ‘You Are Not Your Thoughts: The Secret Magic of Mindfulness’ Frances Trussell says you can have a very merry and mindful Christmas by following her advice.
“For so many of us the pressure of Christmas is huge,” says Frances. “If we get caught up in the juggling of everything it can feel overwhelming. It is so important then to remember that mostly this is pressure we are putting on ourselves, the first step to relieving this is noticing it. We don’t need to add to the pressure by trying to force ourselves to make this the best Christmas ever, instead how would it be to just let yourself really enjoy lot’s of little moments this Christmas? When we give ourselves the space to bask in little moments life comes alive.”
“Mindfulness is having our attention full of what we are doing rather than filled with thoughts. It is easy to get stuck in constantly planning for the next thing or comparing with previous years and if we do this then we are living in the land of ‘somewhere else’ rather than being in the here and now.
“My new book ‘You Are Not Your Thoughts: The Secret Magic of Mindfulness’ explores how we can wake up from the daydream of our thoughts and be more present. There’s so much effort that goes into bringing everything together for the holiday season that we deserve to be there to enjoy it, if we are lost in thought it can seem as though we blinked and missed it.”
“Even if all you have is a single minute to check in with your breath and feel your feet on the floor this really helps us to break from autopilot, feel grounded and aware,” says Frances. “Look for little moments of mindfulness, if you find your mind elsewhere gently ask ‘where am I?’ and refocus on what is going on now.
“Allow yourself to sit and enjoy whatever is happening, such as the unwrapping of a gift, without automatically rushing ahead to the next thing. Setting an intention to be mindful goes a long way, quite often we are unintentionally just trying to ‘get through it’, if we choose instead to ‘be there for it’ this can really shift our experience.”
“I hear from clients all the time that our mindfulness training has given them a new more vibrant experience of life. When I first really ‘got’ this stuff there was a realisation that I’d mostly been sleepwalking through my days. Along the way we may get hypnotised back into unconsciousness with our thoughts and storylines but once we know how different life feels to be mindful we know there is a better way of being.”
“There is a great saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ if you are running on empty you really don’t have enough to give fully to those around you. It is so much easier to be engaged, even tempered and generally nice to be around if you’ve made time to emotionally nourish yourself. So taking time to be meditative, in whatever form that takes is wonderful for everyone you encounter as it helps you to be the best you possible.”
“Meditation reduces mind wandering, worrying and procrastination so it is an investment which may help provide far more productive time in return. By valuing ourselves enough to carve out this time we reduce stress, improving our immune system and with it both or physical and emotional health. If you can give yourself just one gift at Christmas and in life I would urge you to give mindfulness a try. It transformed my life and it may just be the extra sparkle that lights up yours.”