Peace, goodwill and your present-moment-muscle

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

The holidays are all about sharing peace and goodwill with your family, friends and community. This presents a conundrum because the holidays, with extra obligations, are often trying times. Practicing mindfulness, the simple awareness of the present moment without judgment, can help. 

Below are ways to decorate your season with bits of personal mindfulness. They coach your mind into the present moment as they nudge you away from regret and worry. You’ll increase the strength of your “present-moment-muscle” by returning to it often. The more you do, the more you experience peace and goodwill toward yourself and others.   

1.      On a difficult day, steer yourself back to the present moment with a mantra or vision of endurance and strength. Examples: Mantra – “Just This, Right Now”; Vision – Be a mountain, standing strong and steady no matter the weather.

2.      Unless you’re expecting your children to call you about transportation, leave your cell phone in the car while shopping. Even though the stores may be crowded and hectic, notice the peace you give yourself.  

3.      When you eat, notice the different flavors while you chew such as salt, pepper, sweet, tart, bitter, herbs and spices. Can you identify their names?   

4.      Park a little further away from the door when you go shopping. Walk briskly and pay attention to how your mind and body feel as you experience the outdoors – whatever the weather. 

5.      When driving in slow moving traffic, look out for others who need a break and allow them to pull out in front of you.     

6.      Amid the holiday rat race or waiting in a long line to cash out, pause for a few minutes and quietly notice your breathing going in and out until you, your mind and body are peaceful and calm.    

7.      Create a “Heart Warming Minute” during any holiday festivity. Share something meaningful with someone. Notice the goodwill around you.  

8.      At the holiday meal pause a bit between bites and watch the children or another loved one with compassion and wonder.   

9.      Observe and name your stressful feelings (anger, disappointment, guilt, etc.). With your mind say something compassionate to yourself and continue to repeat it until you take in your kindness – then give kindness to someone else with a loving, understanding look.

10.  Eat your favorite dessert saturating every taste bud with its decadent flavor. If you want, eat a little more – mindfully tasting its goodness.     

See more of Dr. Cullman’s columns at www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699 for information about individual sessions or upcoming winter workshops starting on January 9 and January 16. Dr.Cullman is available for presentations, seminars and personalized retreats.