Christmas is coming the thighs are getting fat;
please put a penny into mindful chit chat
Christmas, the time for ho-ho-ho, is sadly often the occasion for woe, woe, woe.
We overeat, overspend, and expectations of family togetherness can fall short
of the mark. Survive the ordeal with these seven mindful tips and keep
the ‘happy’ in Christmas.
#1 Keep Your Stomach A Quarter Empty. This is an ayurvedic tip that I learned in a yoga ashram many moons ago. Stop eating once your stomach is half full of food. Allow a quarter for liquid. Leave the remaining quarter vacant.
You’ll need your wits about you to gauge the sensations of increasing fullness. Remembering to do so will exert your mindfulness muscle.
#2 Take Note of the “More, More, More” Voice In Your Head as you’re Eating. Does this ever happen to you? I notice it every time I’m eating something delicious: a plan to have seconds is already underway! The solution is (1) to notice (2) to laugh at the absurdity of what is probably an evolutionary survival mechanism. When our ancestors found food in plenty their brain encouraged them to eat big: who knew when the next famine was coming?
MINDFUL CHIT CHAT
#3 See The Familiar Person You’re Talking To as if for The Very First Time. Use the traditional mindfulness tool of ‘beginner’s mind’ for this one.
Christmas usually means the same old faces, the same old relationships, the same old conversations. Mindful chit chat is all about the quality of relating. Freshen up your vision by creating novelty. Pretend it’s your very first exchange, your first very meeting, your first conversation with each particular person.
Pretend you’ve never seen the familiar person before. Listen to them as if you’ve never heard their voice before. Be truly present, without rushing to add your responses. Let them feel heard and valued.
OPEN YOUR HEART (with difficult people)
#4 Exert Mindful Kindness: Open Your Heart. This tip builds on the last one and is about engaging with difficult people. As you listen mindfully to your difficult person, take your ‘beginner’s mind’ a little further. Pretend you’ve heard lots of great things about this person and you’re going to discover those great things too.
The Dalai Lama recommends a challenging practice: think about your own wish for personal happiness. The difficult person has this wish for themselves too; it’s something we all share. At this point you could try wishing for their happiness as well as your own. Dare yourself. http://www.dalailama.com/messages/compassion
Why bother to be kind? Kindness is a natural anti-depressant, releasing serotonin and other feel-good chemicals in the brain. It benefits both recipient, giver, and even those who witness the kind act. Dish it out this Christmas!
AVOID THE ENVY TRAP
#5 Comparing Ourselves To Those Better Off is a Recipe for Unhappiness and can be difficult to avoid at a Christmas function. There you are, eyeing the person you’re talking to with envy. Everything seems to go well for them. Not only are they rich and talented, but beautiful too. Dang. Not fair.
A Buddhist tip in this situation is to rejoice for their good fortune. Truly rejoice, from the bottom of your heart. Share in their glory. Remind yourself it is your good fortune to know this person. You will be surprised at how good it feels.
DEAR OLD GRATITUDE
#6 Count Your Blessings. Christmas is a time of giving… and getting. Sometimes the getting part can be disappointing. But hey, it needn’t ruin our day.
Pull out the good old gratitude card at this point and be imaginative in counting your blessings. Gratitude is famous for boosting happiness, increasing satisfaction and igniting the most splendid of riches: contentment.
So what, if you got your least favourite chocolates? The crappy generic brand instead of a Mac? Big Deal. The world will see brighter days. Don’t waste your tears or your heart’s sunshine.
GIVE, GIVE, GIVE
#7 Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat; please put a penny in the old man’s hat. Giving is like gratitude: you are the winner. It brings an instant happiness high. Oxfam and similar humanitarian charities provide a fun approach to buying a chook, a pig or a water pump for someone struggling in poverty on behalf of your Christmas friend or relative. Go for it! https://unwrapped.oxfam.org.au/
And have a truly Happy Christmas!
Like it? Share it!
I'd love to hear your feedback and comments! What are your hopes and fears this Christmas?
join me on my Facebook Page Joyful Mind