During the season of goodwill we will notice thoughts, feelings or memories interrupting us and that’s ok. These thoughts may be subtle and fleeting but some maybe of lost loved ones or work stress that very easily takes the edge off your Christmas cheer. When you notice what is happening in your mind, acknowledge it, don’t criticise yourself. Please bring kindness and return your attention to cooking that turkey, wrapping your gifts or standing in line to buy that bargain. Soak up the sounds, the smells, the feelings and let yourself be part of that moment. Its yours after all.

Pay more attention to where you are and what you are doing, even if your mind tries to offer distractions and alternative realities that appear to be more pleasant than your real experience. You’ll soon be in the company of the family, maybe friends or just your own.

So from the time you wake up on this Christmas morning, take time to fully notice the little things, the smells, textures and tastes that really make your Christmas. Each cuddle, each kiss and each gift. Take time to savour it. How do the sweets look in your hand? How does that new jumper feel on? How does the happiness of others make you feel? Notice the effort others have made to give you gifts. Look at the way they are wrapped. How it feels to pull off the paper. Consider that many other people you do not know have made effort to grow, make or transport parts of your present too.

Bring gratitude, kindness and warmth to everyone you have contact with – including yourself. And if things don’t quite go as planned or you are feeling overwhelmed by the celebrations, just take your seat out in the garden and spend a few moments focusing your attention on your breath, for this impermanent feeling will soon be over and you’ll be in another moment, that belongs to you.

Merry Mindful Christmas.

David Hooper mentalhealth, Mindfulness, SelfCare, Wellbeing