How to find your inner peace during this busy holiday season.
Nashville, Ark. – Are the holidays getting to you? Overscheduling, overeating, hurrying here and there, jangled nerves, family tensions, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, major credit card debts for gifts we often do not even need or appreciate…it’s enough to cause the “Scrooge” in all of us to come out! What ever happened to the spirit of peace that traditionally was the hallmark of the holiday season?
Take heart. Peace can still be found within us and around us. For many of us, though, it may be buried beneath our restless minds, hurried lifestyles, and exaggerated desires. The good news is that we can replace holiday stress with holiday peace.
To find that peace again, begin by drawing upon your own personal experience and jotting down brief answers to these three items.
- Looking back over past holidays, what is one cause of seasonal stress you would like to eliminate or reduce this year?
- What would you really enjoy adding to this year’s celebrations?
- Name one reasonable thing you could do daily during this season that would bring more peace into your life.
Once you have your answers, discuss them with family members or friends, and invite them to respond to the questions also. Encourage one another in finding simple, positive ways to put your answers into action.
Once of the best ways to combat holiday stress is to take your attention away from it and focus on its opposite – peace. Peace is an inner state of alert calmness and vibrant tranquility. It is harmony with people and one’s environment. True peace is not dependent on outward circumstances, the behavior of others, or the absence of illness. It is the ability to accept with composure whatever challenges come our way. Inner peace carries with it a quiet feeling of power and energy. It is not passive or lazy.
How to find that inner peace
To feel even a touch of this kind of peace is a healing and renewing experience. And sharing its fruit with others is a two-way blessing. Here are some suggestions for cultivating a spirit of peace during the holidays:
- Examine what helps you feel peaceful. Maybe it’s having fun with a good friend, listening to uplifting music, praying, meditating, enjoying a good massage, or gazing at the stars. Whatever works for you, build more of those experiences into your daily life.
- If you find yourself rushing all the time, you’ll have to break that habit if you’re serious about living in abiding peace. Build more free space into your life. Kindly say no. keep life simple. Let go of non-essentials. Do less and enjoy it more.
- Reach out to ease the way for others. Scattering kindness, lending a helping hand, and spreading cheerfulness are good medicine for all concerned.
- Breathe with a soft belly. Feel the easy, natural, sensuous rhythm of your in-breath and out-breath. Doing this is a quick, effective way for regaining or deepening your calmness.
- Cultivate the companionship of calm, happy, peaceful people. Gradually, and in subtle ways, you’ll find it easier to bring that sense of peace into all your relationships.
- Spend time in nature with your eyes, ears, and heart wide open. Even brief moments here and there can make a significant difference.
- Say no to worrying about the past and fretting about the future. Live fully in the here and now. Look with awe into the beautiful eyes of the person in front of you. Take time to hear the song of the wind in the pine trees. Embrace the wonder of each moment.
- Avoid dividing your attention. With peace as your companion, do one thing at a time. Give full concentration to the task at hand, striving to perform all actions with even-mindedness.
- Make a game of it: See if you can remain unruffled even in the face of challenging situations. Little by little, your skills as a peacemaker will increase.
Keep in mind that sometimes a lack of peace is an inner call for forgiveness, a change in lifestyle, or the healing of a relationship. If this is the case you’ll know it, as long as you sensitively listen to the signals of your body, mind, and spirit.
Most important of all, use your creativity to schedule in some relaxed periods for being quiet and having some solitude. In that stillness feel the spirit of peace within you and around you; and listen carefully and respectfully to the whisperings of your heart.
For more information on managing stress or finding peace in demanding situations, contact the Howard County Extension Office and ask for the booklets, “Managing Stress,” “Getting Your Heart Right” and/or “Blueprint to Happiness.” They are available free of charge from the Howard County Extension Office. Call 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Recipe of the Week
Sarah Lamb, a member of the Teen Leaders 4-H Club, prepared this recipe at the recent National Egg Preparation Contest in Louisville, Kentucky where she placed 6th. Sarah is the daughter of Jim Bob and Beth Lamb. This recipe would be great for breakfast on Christmas morning.
- 8 oz. Italian turkey sausage (bulk)
- 1 c. chopped green bell pepper
- 1 tsp. fennel seed (or ground fennel seed)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 8 egg whites
- 1/2 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a 10-inch omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle, toast fennel seeds for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
Lightly grind with mortar and pestle. Skip this step if using ground fennel seeds.
In the omelet pan or skillet, cook sausage, green pepper, and ground fennel seed over medium heat, stirring to break sausage apart, until sausage is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain well. Return to pan.
In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, ricotta cheese and garlic powder until blended.
Pour intopan over sausage mixture. Cover.
Cook over medium heat until eggs are almost set, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Top with tomato slices. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil about 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve from pan or slide from pan onto serving platter.
Nutrition Facts: Serving size = 1/8 recipe, 141 calories, 8 grams fat, 146 mg cholesterol, 252 mg sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, and 13 grams protein.
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
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