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Mindful : December 2017
Holidays are not the time to revisit old battles or to try to change someone’s politi- cal views. Instead, apply a light touch when it comes to relationships and sub- jects that trigger you. Stick to topics that everyone can agree on. Hold the inten- tion of wishing everyone well, even saying silently, I wish for this person to be happy. Look for opportu- nities to offer a genuine compliment or kind word, Avoid a family feud ortolendahandwitha task. Joy on Demand author Chade-Meng Tan also sug- gests a dose of honesty and compassion toward yourself (Wow, this is really hard. But I’m doing my best). If noth- ing else, he adds, remember our shared mortality. If you consider that you may have a limited amount of time with someone, you may begin to view that person and the situation between you differently. There’s a reason why so many people embark on a diet or detox come January 1: All that holiday celebrat- ing can add up—on your waistline, sure, but mostly in making you feel really off-balance. Too much sugar, alcohol, junk food, you name it, combined with missed workouts, late nights, and packed week- ends—it doesn’t take long to feel less than optimal in body and mind. Psychologist and mind- fulness teacher Christo- pher Willard suggests a few simple guidelines to discern between mindful and mindless indulgence this season. It takes about 20 minutes for your mind to commu- nicate feelings of satiety to the body. If you slow Savor, don’t graze down when you eat, you’re less likely to overdo it. It also allows you to better experience the flavors and textures of your food. As a result, you may find you only need a bite or two to truly appreciate and enjoy a special treat. Rather than eating based on emotional signals, such as boredom or nervousness, why not tune in to your body. Stomach growling, flagging energy, or feeling a bit lightheaded are all sig- nals of hunger. Not know- ing who to talk with at the company party isn’t. If you find yourself hanging out by the buffet because you don’t know what else to do, get yourself a glass of sparkling water, find someone you don’t usually talk with, and get to know them a bit. Make yourself a proper plate of food instead of grazing mindlessly from passing hors d’oeuvres trays or the dessert table. Look and get curious about the offerings, and choose what you’d like to try before you fill your plate. Then, find a seat and enjoy your selections, taking time to experience the food—and the company and the atmo- sphere as well. If you can focus your attention on the gifts already in your life, the holidays will likely be far more enjoyable and fulfilling. 34 mindful December 2017 how to live a mindful life