NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2013 — “Thanksgiving is fast approaching and many people are feeling a sense of dread,” notes mindfulness blogger Dani DiPirro. “The holiday should fill us with gratitude, but it’s not unusual to feel more panicked than peaceful. Staying thankful, even during the most stressful moments, is one of the best ways to fill the day with peace and happiness.” DiPirro reviews four stressful situations you might encounter this Thanksgiving-and provides four tips for keeping your sense of equilibrium in them.
• Too much togetherness. You might love your family, but spending significant amounts of time with all of them at once can be a bit much. It’s hard not to get caught up in wanting to be somewhere else when you’ve had enough family time, but when you find yourself overwhelmed by those you love, take a moment to imagine life without them and be thankful for the moments you can spend together.
• Unexpected delays. Nothing ramps up holiday stress like an unexpected delay-a flight grounded by bad weather, a turkey taking way too long to cook. Instead of fretting about being late or having to wait, try to enjoy the extra time you have on your hands. Read an extra chapter or two in your book, call a loved one for a chat, or start a board game with the family. Rather than dwelling on the delay, be thankful for the surprise gift of extra time.
• Maddening mishaps. Every year it happens: something goes wrong. The food’s burnt. The taboo topic is brought up. The guests who declined arrive anyway. Instead of focusing on what’s gone wrong, choose to focus on what’s right. A mishap might shine a light on a minor catastrophe, but you have the option to redirect that beam and be grateful for the things that have fallen perfectly into place.
• Awkward interactions. During holiday festivities, you’re bound to encounter someone you’d rather not see, cueing awkwardness. Oddly enough, awkward feelings are something you should be grateful for. When you feel awkward, you have a chance to learn, to ask yourself what makes you uncomfortable, and to choose to overcome or avoid it. Be thankful for that opportunity.
DiPirro is the author of Stay Positive 365 and the founder of http://PositivelyPresent.com, which has been featured in Psychology Today, Forbes.com, and The Washington Post.