Being Jolly…and Mindful

shutterstock_326565467As I finish putting up the last of my Christmas decorations, I’m thinking to myself, Am I ready for the holidays? Ready for the hustle and bustle of the holidays that lies ahead of me? I hope so… shutterstock_116034259Every year, I assure myself that I WILL get through this hectic time of year, I always do. However, there is also that fear, lurking in my mind, that at times threatens this assurance I make to myself. But, this is only a THOUGHT, right? Thoughts can be ignored, and why would I let fear overtake all my jolliness. So, the question I should be asking myself is, How do I ignore these negative thoughts about fear? shutterstock_326350340 This is where my mindfulness practice comes in handy. As soon as those inevitable thoughts about fear come creeping into my mind, I switch it off. Yup, it’s as simple as that! If I begin to think thoughts like, I feel stressed! or I can’t possibly do all the things that I have to do-I’ll never finish in time! I simply stop thinking and doing what I’m thinking and doing and I take a deep breath in-I have a MINDFUL MOMENT. shutterstock_236121601 It doesn’t matter where I am. So far, I have managed to be able to mindfully breathe through uncomfortable feelings, anywhere and everywhere I am. Mindful moments also allow me to respond to situations, instead of reacting to them. shutterstock_161373815I can take a mindful moment anytime...after stopping whatever I'm doing, with eyes closed or not, I breathe for a few moments, until I can feel my body calming and my breath slowing down. This is the part I love about mindful breathing...it’s like magic how it helps me regulate and manage my emotions-how appropriate for Christmas! Once I’m a little more balanced, I notice what is going on around me…is there a certain thing, person, place or situation that is stressing me out? First, by listening to what is going on in my body, I can become aware to what is going on in the present moment-aware to what is making me feel so stressed. shutterstock_78908107Why I am feeling so stressed doesn’t necessarily matter right this moment though, because thinking doesn’t help me get through this! JUST BEING with my experience allows me to become aware to how I can feel less stressed-just being with my feelings and the fear in my body. shutterstock_343823687     Once I have calmed my body and I continue to have a clear mind, I am able to recognize the stressor better. I now understand what I am afraid of, and this is half the battle of dealing with it. It's so important to get rid of the fearful feelings in my body first. Now that these are gone, or at least calmed, I can see the fear for what it really is- just mind chatter-y thoughts of self-doubt.shutterstock_320803694   shutterstock_225487396So, back to those feelings of I feel stressed!... Well, now I don’t really feel this anymore. I have changed my feeling because I now know that it can't threaten me-it's only a thought! All gone bad feeling! My response to my fear...ignore it. My other fear of I can’t possibly do all the things that I have to do-I’ll never finish in time! is a little bit different-it's a fear that I think will happen. How can I possibly predict something that will happen in the future? I can’t! Being able to see this now, after taking a few moments to feel this fear, I realize that what happens will happen.shutterstock_329761073 I will do my best to mindfully face it when it happens! That’s the best I can hope for and honestly, that’s enough for me. Why waste all my time and jolliness on a fear that may not even happen? I have better things to do, like wrapping Christmas presents. Most importantly, I have better things to BE…shutterstock_326363414                                                                ...like being mindfully jolly!   shutterstock_300312797Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental illness and mindfulness. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone. Tracy lives in Central Florida with her family and two dogs Jack and Rusty! Please visit Tracy's website tracybryan.com or email her at tracy@tracybryan.com    

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