Hang on, everyone. This could be a tough holiday season! If you find yourself struggling, you’re by no means alone. While it helps a little to know this is normal, it’s even better to know that there’re things we can do that help us feel good and that protect and strengthen our emotional well-being.
First, we can be kind to ourselves if we’re feeling sad or mournful, without getting caught in difficult emotion. Do this by taking time to listen to and soothe those difficult emotions, and then shift our attention to something that has the power to reduce stress, lift us up, and bring us fresh meaning and a sense of optimism.
Second, we can intentionally focus on our life’s special, memorable moments.
Make a “Highlights Reel” of Memorable Moments
One late summer night decades ago, while vacationing in a bayside cottage in Southhampton, N.Y., I carried our son Michael, then only 3, into the dark silence out of doors. The sky shimmered with stars. Michael tilted his head back to look up, his eyes widening and his mouth dropping open in awe.
I decided to try out Brody’s Thanksgiving ritual for myself. First, I took about 15 minutes, to jot down 10 meaningful memories, along with few details about each of them. That’s just the number I came up with – you can write as few or as many as you want. Then I reread my notes, and in my imagination created a little video of each one, remembering what happened, where I was, who else, if anyone, was there, and how I felt.
It was, as promised, an uplifting experience. It shifted my perspective, reminding me of how much I have to treasure in my life, and of what and who is most important to me.
While replaying each memory, a smile spread across my face. I laughed at some, and teared up at others. I realized how lucky I am, what a rich and full life I’ve had, and continue to have. It even made me think forward to this time next year, when we’ll be looking back at what we learned in 2020 and looking ahead to what comes next. These are the things I want to focus my attention on.
The cinema of your imagination has no limits. So go ahead and give yourself a treat. Show yourself everything you want to see. Recruit those memories and edit as you see fit.
Another Take On How to Lift Our Spirits Now
Tricia Bishop, The pandemic has caused a lot of pain, but there’s also pleasure to be found in the way we live now. Bishop writes about what she has found to be grateful for as we make our way through the pandemic.