Never, in the history of ever, has telling someone to calm down actually helped them to calm down.
As I started writing this my auto-rotating background was a lioness staring the camera down with her intense yellow eyes. I decided to name her Augusta. How fitting a photo to pop up for an article about dealing with overwhelm.
Can you imagine being the photographer? Starring through your hopefully long magnifying camera lens and knowing if Augusta decided to charge you nothing under the sun would save your life. At the same time you’re having a precious, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture this image and to be in the presence of a truly amazing creature.
All of that in and of itself creates a balance of tension. There is a definitive con, being mauled to death by a lioness, and definite pro, an amazing experience. But what happens when the scales are out of balance?
There is something about a family meal that can straight up suck any feelings of success and gratitude right out of you. Your start up’s progress becomes “cute” and a short interruption to the details of when you’re getting a real job. Your daily yoga practice reduced to hippy nonsense. Any hope of sharing your new venture our travels get eschewed for the topic of babies, investment properties and corporate promotions. Why on earth did you ever leave the kids table?
You’re trying to maintain your positive psychology learnings in the forefront of your mind, but it seems more like a competition for one-uppings and backhanded compliments. Pairing all that with the scary and polarizing, current world news and there’s a good chance holiday gatherings could take a toll on you. It’s no wonder the jokes and statistics abounding about holiday family feuds, depression, anxiety and increased alcohol consumption and hospitalizations.
When it seems that the world has gone mad and tragedies have given our lives a somber tone, there is still, and always will be, a bright beacon of hope. Hope for you, your family and humanity at large. That beacon is gratitude and it lights the way to better and brighter days for anyone who chooses to practice it.
There is always something to be grateful for and that, in and of itself, is an incredible thing. If you’re reading this give thanks for the incredible gifts of literacy, electricity, internet and time.
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