The most precious gift
Letting Go of Expectations
In modern-day society, there is a huge build-up to Christmas with advertisements on the TV, cookery programmes about the perfect Christmas family dinner, the perfect presents to buy, shops playing Christmas songs, Christmas parties and so on. This huge commercial frenzy puts pressure on people to have to try to fulfil these expectations of this whole festive season being the time to be jolly.
It is good to examine and explore what are our actual expectations during the festive season? The frustration or disappointment is generally down to unmet and often unknown expectations or assumptions about how Christmas should be.
Mindfulness practice encourages us to choose to develop an attitude of letting go of expectations and allow things to be exactly as they are. When we do this then we cannot be disappointed or frustrated with how things work out. We can take pleasure in the simple things such as being present with our loved ones, taking rest and be kind to ourselves and others, go for mindful walks, choosing to buy eco-friendly presents, or agreeing not to buy presents for the adults in the family.
I was heartened to watch the Martin Lewis Money programme the other week and he was advocating just buying presents for children and agreeing with all the rest of the family not to exchange presents. The relief that people felt when this was discussed and agreed with family members especially when people added up how much money they would save or the debt that they would not get into was incredible.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Here are some mindfulness tips to help you through the Festive season.
- If you begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed find a quiet space and take a breathing space. The three-step breathing space is a good one to try. It can take 2-3 minutes.
Step 1- Acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally and physically. Tune into the body sensations and the thoughts and moods that you feel.
Step 2- Gather the focus of your attention and focus your awareness on your breath, choose one point of contact in the body, that feels the most vivid for you and just follow the sensations of the breath for one minute.
Step 3-Expand your awareness of the whole body embracing the sensations and the breath as well as mood and thoughts and add the intention to be kind to yourself!!
- Make time for a daily mindful walk during the daylight hours, wrap up warm and even if it is just for 5 minutes, feel the cool air on the skin, the sound of the birds, wind, rain, be alive and notice the colour of the sky and tune into this moment and breath and be.
- Wash the dishes mindfully. Be with each dish and notice the sensations of the hands in the warm water washing each dish be alive and aware in each moment.
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season.
By Clare McRobbie
Course Wellbeing Pracititoner