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December 2015

how to stay calm during the holidays



It's the most wonderful time of the year -- or not, depending on how you view the holiday season. If you're like most people, you probably have mixed feelings. On one hand, it's a magical time of year -- so festive and fun and filled with sparkly things! -- but, on the other hand, it comes with a lot of extra stress and craziness that can be downright annoying. The trick to making the most of the holiday season -- of the good and the bad -- is keeping your cool. The calmer you can stay, the better everything becomes. The difficult situations are easier to cope with and the good times are much more enjoyable. But, of course, staying calm during the holidays isn't always easy. Here are some of the best tactics for having a merrily calm holiday season: 



Too often, we go into the holiday season with a groan, envisioning the crowds, the traffic, the obligations. Doing this only enhances whatever negative experiences we might have and quickly dims the bright light of the positive side of the holidays. Instead of focusing on the stress, make it a goal to be calm this holiday season. Choosing this as a goal won't automatically make every situation a piece of cake, but it will help you shift your focus when you find yourself feeling negative. Try treating calmness as a serious goal -- just like baking five dozen cookies or wrapping all of your gifts before Christmas Eve -- and you'll be more likely to make it happen. (Bonus: tell other people it's your goal and they'll be happy to remind you of it when you start to appear less than peaceful!)



This isn't new advice, but it's so vital that I cannot fail to add it to this list: learn to say no. It can be challenging during the holiday season to do this (after all, your cousin only has a holiday party once a year!), but the sooner you're able to draw the line between what you absolutely have to do and what you can skip out on, the sooner you'll be able to find a calm state of mind. One of the biggest stressors during the holidays is feeling like you have to do so many things (attend events, give gifts, bake cookies, trim the tree, attend religious services), but how many do you really have to do? Cut down on the to-do list and create more calm! 



Gratitude usually gets a big spotlight in November with Thanksgiving, but its light is sometimes dimmed during the December holidays when stress and hecticness take over. Don't let this be the case in your life. Choose to keep gratitude in the limelight all season long and it'll be a lot easier to stay calm. For one thing, gratitude is good for your health, and the healthier you feel, the easier it is to keep your cool. And, in addition to physical benefits, gratitude does amazing things for your mind too. It helps you focus on what you have instead of what you don't, which can cut way down on your stress levels. If you can, start each day in December by thinking of something you're really grateful for. (Need ideas? Check out the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge.)



The holidays often become super-stressful or unpleasant because they bring up issues that've been plaguing you all year long. If, for example, you're having a tough time being single, the holidays will amplify feelings of loneliness. Or, if you've put way too many obligations on your calendar, the holidays will increase feelings of overwhelm. Sometimes it's hard to even know what's out of balance (this quiz can help to find out) so pay close attention to what's really bothering you when you lash at out a loved one or feel exasperated with all of the holiday shoppers at the mall. The sooner you can identify (and address!) the real issue, the quicker you'll be able to create more calm in your life. 



Let's face it, sometimes, no matter how hard you try to minimize your obligations or soul-search your way out of a holiday funk, the holiday season will have stressful moments. Some years will be more lighthearted than others and some you'll have to slog your way through (sad as that sounds!). If you're having a particularly stressful holiday season, make some relaxing holiday plans so you'll have something to look forward to. Sign up for a class, book a retreat, or have a little spa day planned for the beginning of the year. While you should do your best to enjoy the holidays (and stay present), sometimes it can be nice to have a little bit of relaxation to look forward when the holidays start feel a bit too chaotic. 


Whatever holidays you celebrate and however you celebrate them, do your best to stay positive and to stay present. Doing so will not only make the season more enjoyable for you on a day-to-day basis, but it will also help you create a lasting sense of calm that you can come back to when things are getting particularly stressful. As the holiday season kicks off, I hope yours is filled with calm, peace, and love. 


MH_LogoTagline Thank you to the sponsor of this post: The MINDFUL MOSAIC© Women’s Retreats, which was created by Nicole Glassman, holistic nutritionist, blogger, public speaker and founder of Mindful Health. MINDFUL MOSAIC© is an innovative healing program that utilizes the ancient wisdom of the 7 chakras to enlighten participants as they explore their beliefs, emotions and physicality while learning creative life-healing techniques. Comprised of thought-provoking curriculum and customized nutritional guidance, MINDFUL MOSAIC© is the ultimate tool to achieve self- growth and emotional healing. The MINDFUL MOSAIC© Women’s Retreats at the luxurious Mayflower Grace and the serene Inns of Aurora will be uplifting experiences, filled with real connections to yourself, your body, and to others. Accompanied by soul-nourishing conversation, daily yoga, chef-prepared meals, natural spa treatments, and a long list of amenities that complement the chakra inspired journey, these retreats are the ultimate getaway for holistic healing.

positively present picks : november 27, 2015




"If you truly loved yourself,
you could never hurt another."




Christmas Cheerso getting in the holiday spirit right now

29 Playlists for When You're Having a Hard Time : music is the b-e-s-t

How Non-Attachment Can Benefit Your Relationship : stop clinging! 

5 Ways to Transform Anger into Joy : perfect for holiday meltdowns

How to Want Very Little : because less really, truly is more 

7 Steps to Crush Negative Thoughts : get rid of them for good

Holiday Survival Tip #1 : important reminder for the holiday season

Emoji Pillows : I love emojis + these make me so happy

5 Ways to Express Gratitude : even when you're not feelin' it...

Cards2Life Christmas Wishes : how beautiful are these greeting cards?!

How to Cope with Doubters : thanks to Kate for sharing this with me! 

Life-Changing Lessons for People Who Struggle with Anxiety : so good

Protect Yourself from Energy Suckers : so important for the holidays



Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Love Yourself" — MacKenzie Johnson
"Gone in the Sun" — Beaches
"The Hills" — Atlas Genius
"Piece by Piece" — Kelly Clarkson
"Higher Living" — LEO ISLO
"House of Seven Swords"— Vanessa Carlton
"Awkward" — San Cisco
"Bones" — Josh Record
"This" — Ed Sheeran
"Same Old Love" — Selena Gomez



Check out my reading list on GoodReads.

A Christmas Memory
Truman Capote

Big Magic: 
Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert


I wrote a book too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

75 inspiring gratitude prompts



Here in the US, it's almost Thanksgiving, which, of course, is always a great time to focus on gratitude! Though you're probably aware of the benefits of gratitude (improvements in physical health, better emotional wellbeing, stronger relationships, etc.), sometimes it can be challenging to embrace an attitude of gratitude, either because you're not lovin' life at the moment or because you just generally think "I'm grateful for everything" and then go about your day. Being generally thankful for what you have is great, but what really serves as effective gratitude is getting specific. And getting specific is where it can get tricky. 

I believe gratitude is one of the most important things you can do to make your life more positive. It makes any situation better (yes, even those stressful moments around the holidays!), which is why I came up with 75 prompts to help you (and me!) stay specifically grateful this holiday season. I recommend using these prompts in one of two ways: (1) print them out, sit down with a pen, and write down your responses, reflecting on how each answer prompts you to think of something you're thankful for, or (2) print them out, cut out the individual questions, and pass them around the table at Thanksgiving (or any holiday), encouraging friends and family to share their answers and what they're thankful for. 

To make them easier to print, I've created a little PDF download for you.
Click here to download the Thanksgiving Prompts PDF!

  1. Who would you be unable to live without? 
  2. What sounds can you hear right now? 
  3. How do you feel when you hear the word "freedom"?
  4. What smell do you love smelling the most? 
  5. Which emotion is your favorite to experience? 
  6. How does the holiday season make you feel?
  7. Did a teacher influence your life in a positive way?
  8. What have you learned from unpleasant emotions?
  9. Who is the most positive, inspiring person you know?
  10. What quote made you think about life differently?
  11. Which animals have positively impacted your life?
  12. How do you feel about your closest friends?
  13. What is your favorite physical trait? 
  14. Who was the last person you hugged? 
  15. What traditions did you enjoy as a child?
  16. Did you learn any lessons from a childhood friend?
  17. Where did you rest your head last night?
  18. What opportunities have changed your life?
  19. How do you like to spend your spare time?
  20. What three things do you see in front of you? 
  21. What do you enjoy about your career?
  22. How does it feel to wake up every single day?
  23. When was the last vacation you went on?
  24. What is the best thing you've ever read?
  25. How has technology impacted your life?
  26. What character traits are you happy to have?
  27. When did you last feel pure excitement? 
  28. How do you feel in your favorite outfit? 
  29. When was the last time you laughed really hard?
  30. What TV show do you enjoy watching?
  31. How did it feel the first time you fell in love?
  32. What is your favorite or best talent?
  33. Do you have a simple pleasure you really enjoy? 
  34. What luxury are you lucky to have access to?
  35. How did it feel to leave a bad situation?
  36. Who did you last say "I love you" to?
  37. What inspires you to keep going when it's hard?
  38. Who provides you with a valuable service? 
  39. What is the best gift you have ever received? 
  40. Do you have a favorite memory? 
  41. How does it feel to get paid for your work?
  42. What color makes you feel happiest? 
  43. Do you feel excited about your future? 
  44. What is one thing you're really proud of? 
  45. How do you express your love to others? 
  46. When was the last walk you went on? 
  47. What is your all-time favorite song? 
  48. How does it feel to eat a really great meal? 
  49. Do you have running water at home?
  50. When did you last feel really cozy? 
  51. What kind of artwork makes you happy?
  52. When did you last look up at the stars?
  53. How does the sky above you look today?
  54. What website do you enjoy visiting?
  55. Do you enjoy traveling to new places?
  56. When did you last lie in the sunshine?
  57. How does it feel to give a gift? 
  58. When were you last encouraged/praised?
  59. What's the most fun day you've had?
  60. How do you enjoy your favorite month?
  61. When were you last really surprised?
  62. What's the best compliment you've received?
  63. What are you really passionate about?
  64. Do you enjoy a good dance party?
  65. What have you learned recently? 
  66. How do you feel in moments spent alone?
  67. What kindnesses have you experienced?
  68. How does a good night's sleep feel?
  69. What dessert do you most enjoy eating?
  70. When did you last feel really at peace?
  71. How do you recover from an illness?
  72. When did you forgive someone else? 
  73. When did someone else forgive you?
  74. Where is your favorite place to be?
  75. What do you love most about life? 


Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoyed contemplating these prompts. Gratitude is one of the best ways I've encountered for staying optimistic and in the moment. As joyful as the holiday season is, it can also be challenging in a lot of ways. If you find yourself struggling with gratitude in the coming weeks, come back to these prompts to remind you of all of the things for which you can be thankful! 




If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the  Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.