It’s suddenly December, and it’s going to get progressively more glittery and bonkers. Or you could consider the fourth Fish principle: Be Present. Easy to get sucked into the Christmas vortex, isn’t it? Even the strongest amongst us find it tough: our line of sight bombarded by adverts and displays, our hearing challenged with “festive” muzak and that’s even before we get influenced by other people’s angst and neuroses: “Have you bought/ordered/finished your shopping yet?” “My family’s driving me nuts!” “I’m trying to please all the people all the time.” “I should…”
And what on earth could Be Present mean? As in the first Fish principle, it’s linked to choosing your attitude.
The principle of being present is about focus and lack of distraction. It’s about not dwelling in the past, because that’s done. It’s about putting aside the future, because no-one really knows. It’s about making the most of what’s right here and now with a definite bias towards connection with yourself and with others. It’s about awareness.
What do you do? What do you do in the midst of December madness, when it all seems to be running away, or too much trouble, or too big to deal with? You stop, pause and breathe. Then you deal with what really matters.
What to do when all around you are losing it.
You can’t avoid others’ stress, but you can choose your reaction to it. This doesn’t necessarily mean being indifferent. Often that’s not possible. Empathise and be kind by all means, but remember you don’t have to absorb their emotions. A friend who knows about the dangers of over-empathising, once described her strategy of “bubble wrapping” herself. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, it means you’re protecting yourself, and by doing that, you’re more able to help.
And listen, really listen to what others are saying.
What to do about the sensory overload
Please stop. Turn down the chatter. Turn off the social media, tv, radio for a moment. Please go outside and find even the smallest piece of green, or tree, or bare twiggy bush and look, really look at it carefully. Look at the minute detail, the colour, how it feels to touch it. And take some calming breaths. Be present. Two minutes is all you need.
What to do every day (at all times of the year, and not necessarily in this order)
Be kind. Give. Breathe. Love. Be grateful. Smile. Meditate. Hug. Listen. Laugh. Be with friends. Connect. Be mindful.