How to beat the Christmas overwhelm
Are you feeling overwhelmed instead of overjoyed as we approach Christmas and the end of 2018?
Working around the clock to meet deadlines before you break for Christmas? Going on line to purchase those last-minute Christmas presents (or perhaps even to start your Christmas shopping)? Or feeling torn about who you spend Christmas with, trying to please everyone?
I hear you..
This has been me, for pretty much every Christmas since leaving school up until the last few years when I started practising gratitude. And whilst it may seem a little airy fairy to some, this small, but powerful little intervention really does help to reduce the stress and overwhelm we feel in our lives – whether it be at home or work.Put simply, gratitude practice is being grateful for what and who we have in our lives.
In our modern world, we have become so focussed on the negative, rather than the positive, what we don’t have, rather than what we do have and what’s going wrong instead of what’s going well. This is because as humans, we are far more motivated by pain than pleasure – it’s a survival instinct.
Sounds weird but it’s so true. The next time you listen to the news, read the paper or have a conversation around the water cooler or at dinner, observe whether the focus is more positive or negative.
Often times we take things, people and life for granted. We don’t fully appreciate what we have. This may explain why so many people are dissatisfied with their lives.
As Oscar Wilde famously said:
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.”
Practicing gratitude is a way to reframe our thoughts and feelings from the negative to the positive. According to research by Forbes and in my own experience, gratitude can:
Open the doors to new relationships
Improve physical health
Improve psychological health
Enhance empathy and reduce aggression
Help you to sleep better
How do you practice gratitudeIf you’re new to this, keep it very simple…Take a few moments to write down three things that you are grateful for each day – even if it’s just one-word answers such as family, friends, new job, freedom, nature or time out...
Don’t overthink this and add to your overwhelm! Simply write the first three things that come into your head (that you are grateful for), on a post it, a notepad, a journal (if you have one) or on your phone. Whether it’s first thing in the morning whilst you’re having breakfast, stuck in traffic (only if it’s safe to do so!) or waiting for your next meeting to begin, you don’t need more than a minute or two.
Practicing gratitude is not a silver bullet to eliminating stress or achieving the perfect life and wont change your world overnight, but it will certainly help you to focus more on what you do have, than don’t and in turn, will leave you feeling more positive, calm and happier.
For me personally, morning is the best time to practice gratitude as it sets me up for a positive start to my day. So, as the countdown to Christmas day begins, why not write down three things that you are grateful RIGHT NOW, before you click out of this post?!
“Thoughts become things…choose the good ones”
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