‘Tis the season to give yourself the present

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015

dog and kidWhen you see a TV commercial full of happy people decking their halls and wrapping presents, find yourself stuck in an impossibly long line at the store when all you’re buying is a few gift cards, or get hit with other ever-present reminders that the holidays are here, what’s the first feeling that fills your body? Joy? Anxiety? Happy memories? Painful memories? Dread? Delight?

For many otherwise well-adjusted people, the holidays are stress on steroids. Putting up with Mom’s incessant questions about your personal life at family gatherings. Trying to outdo the neighbors when you string up your outside lights. Not wanting to fall into the commercialized Christmas trap, but going to Black Friday sales anyway so you don’t miss a bargain. And worst of all, being so caught up by anxiety you’re unable to find joy and peace in your own mind, body and spirit.  The stress can weigh uncomfortably on every part of your being like a soggy, scratchy wool overcoat.

To find relief, take a step back. Do you remember a fun holiday when you were a kid that overwhelmed you with joy and love? When you felt at peace – alone or with others, celebrating? If not, can you recall dreaming vividly about the perfect holiday? Did you see your ideal celebration in a movie?  Either way, hold that feeling in your body and soul for a moment. Visualize yourself in that moment – whether it was in real life or in your dream world.  It’s real either way.

Now bring that feeling into the present. Don’t think ahead. Don’t judge it. Just relish it in this moment. Bathe in it. Smile about it.  Cry with joy for it. Imprint it in your mind so you can call it into consciousness whenever you need to.

The only power we have – and the only place we live – is in this moment.  In the present.

You can’t live a year, a day, or even five minutes from now or five minutes ago. You pass through 18,400 moments a day, and you have the power to choose how you feel in each.  Stressed or peaceful.   Annoyed or loved. Sad or joyful.

When you choose, you craft each moment to create your present… and that the best present of all.

Lee Watters, MS, is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern (#IMH13933) and Spiritual Coach.  To schedule an appointment with Lee for counseling or coaching, call (904) 992-9930. (And, yes, that is his son and their dog in 2011.)