Presence Before Presents

by Karen L. Smith

presence presentsWhat can possibly compare to the expectations of a holiday season? Unfortunately, often not the holidays themselves. Between the build-up, the anticipation and the demands, we can be left disappointed by moments that we barely had a chance to taste as we were busily preparing for the next moment.

Be present to the joys of the season with a few easy steps:

Breathe deeply: Excitement fuels us with adrenaline much like anxiety. Keep it in check through breath awareness.

Count anticipation as one of the treats: Looking forward to and imagining the upcoming events are part of the fun of the holidays. Appreciate the pleasure that planning the meals, shopping for and wrapping gifts and decorating all bring.

Consciously focus: Holidays can easily become special events that you spend months planning for and then can’t remember. Make it your practice to be mindfully present as each new event unfolds.

Appreciate family: Trying to work out better relationships with your family members can bring many benefits, but holidays aren’t the time. Focus on what is good about your family during the holidays, and make a commitment to work on improving those relationships later in the new year.

Karen L. Smith, MSS, LCSW, is the director of Full Living: a Psychotherapy Practice, which serves the Greater Philadelphia area. For more information, call 215-494-7818, email or visit December 2015.

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