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2017 is my fourth bonus Christmas.

By all accounts, I should have died from my skiing accident four years ago, but I didn’t. I’m alive and I get to spend this time with my family.

Indulge me for a moment, and think of this Christmas as a bonus day for you, too. You are blessed to be here and have this opportunity celebrate the holiday.

For those of you lucky enough to spend time with family and loved ones this holiday season, here are 6 ways to not only survive, but to actually enjoy the holiday season.

1. Be present.When you are in a conversation with your family that is visiting, simply be present and actively listen. Listen to understand, love and support them. Listen to learn more about them and their life.

As tempting as it may be, avoid trying to solving their problems unless you are specifically asked for advice or help. Most times we just want to be heard and loved by our family.

4. Express gratitude

At the holidays, I like to center my family conversations on gratitude. At the dinner table, ask ‘What happened today that you are grateful for?’ or ‘What was your favorite part of your day?’  You’ll be surprised how people respond — your gratitude is infectious!

2. Plan & Escape One thing you can pretty much count on during a family gathering is for someone to get you upset. After all, these are the people in your life who know you best and know exactly how to push your buttons. Plan on it happening.

And when things do get overwhelming, I like to escape: get out and go on a nice walk to unwind and process anything that is bothering me.

5. WineThe most important ingredient for a successful family gathering. Apply liberally.
3. MeditateTake 1 min or 5 min or 20 min to pause and just be.

Meditation helps you control your mind and slow that rush of thoughts. Just sit and focus on your attention on your breath.

If your thoughts bubble up and interrupt you, that’s normal. In fact, that’s the magic moment when you know you’re practicing the skill of controlling your mind!

6. Spread joyGive someone an unexpected compliment, help, or smile.

Every time you do something to boost someone else, you are giving yourself a boost, too.

What’s really important is the time you spend with your loved ones.

The bottom line is to enjoy this time with family and friends. If you are stressed about all the things on your to do list, think about how unimportant many of them really are. Enjoy the moments that do matter.

 

Happy holidays!

With love and joy,
Steve

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