Now that Christmas is past, perhaps it is time to process. Before Christmas I notices there was a lot of chatter on the net about how to deal with yule-tide stress. It seems that one of the main things that stresses people out during this time is seeing family members who invariably say or do something the rest of us find unpleasant during the family gathering.
We’ve all seen it. The family is together for the holiday, somebody says something innocent and with the best intent and it triggers someone else to blow up way out of proportion to the situation. Then there is that long pause while everyone stares at the offender, trying to decide whether or not to respond. Often we do respond and things escalate, hard feelings are generated and people start dreading next Christmas.
Or. . . .Wise-mind prevails. We notice any judgmental thoughts we have and let go of them. We look at the person with compassion. We realize they must be hurting to spread such garbage. We don’t personalize it—realizing it is more about them than it is about us. If we can’t get out of responding we respond with empathy, letting them know we heard what they said. Then we stay in the present and move on to more pleasant topics, not giving the incident another thought. We might even have a moment when we feel gratitude we aren’t hurting like the other person.
I will caution you, this does not work 100% of the time. But it works most of the time. I worked providing services much of my adult life. I have seen many emotional outbursts. I got into the habit of mentally stepping back and saying to myself “There’s something you don’t see every day.” That pause allows me to respond in Wise-mind mode. This always provides better results than reacting with an emotional response.
This is but one of endless examples of how living The Mindful Lifestyle can make your life better.