The spirit of Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us. Regardless of your beliefs, ‘Christmas’ takes on a powerful presence in the calendar – signaling an end to 2011 and a short pause before 2012 begins.

I have been observing how people are responding to this time of year. There is an interesting mix of fear, shame, entitlement, greed anger and relief that is on show.

The rate of mental wellness issues seems to sky-rocket at this time of year as people’s magical expectations of Christmas are not met. Reminders that we are at the end of the year – and what was achieved and what was not – can play on the minds of others. Comparisons, desire, greed, entitlement and shame often emerge in the exchange of gifts.

Anger, rage and other strong emotions can be raised when families are forced together (and often alcohol is added). Feelings also get heated in shopping centers and car parks (I have seen many examples in the last few days…)

So what is the solution?
Be aware of what you are feeling, and what may have triggered it. Don’t respond before you have thought about what that response may lead to.
Realize that Christmas is not a competition. Gifts are given from the heart, and it really is the thought that counts.
Stay calm. Take the observer stance and watch what amazing range of behaviors others will display.
Reach out to those you love, and let them know it. It will make you feel good.
If you feel you need help, reach out to someone, or an appropriate service such as lifeline.
Find the small moments of joy. Search them out and savor them.
Take a breath. The sun will rise on another day tomorrow.

Whatever you believe, this is a great time to connect and have a generosity of spirit toward others.

Live Well,