For those of you who still have paper calendars, we have now turned the page to the final month of 2014. Thanksgiving has passed and we are in the busy season of merriment and giving. I feel an annual pull to take the opportunity to remind each of us to focus and be mindful of the choices we make as we move through this holiday season.

As adults, we serve as role models to our children, demonstrating behavior that they will closely observe and absorb. This time of year can be challenging due to all the demands. Family and community traditions are important and serve as narrative anchors for generations and history. What is important to consider however, is that it is impossible to have the perfect celebration and that families and times change requiring flexibility and understanding.

I would suggest you do the following:

Take time, reflect and ask yourself:

  • What truly matters to you and what do you want to “feel” as you move daily through the next several weeks?
  • What do you want your children and loved ones to remember about the holiday season?
  • How often do you take a breath and practice gratitude?

The practice of gratitude has a powerful positive effect on our emotional and physical health. The research shows that people who live with a focus of gratitude are healthier, happier, kinder, better able to delay gratification, more helpful to others and viewed as warm by others. If you are looking for a gift to give someone you care about consider, “Gratitude Works” by Robert Emmons.

For years I have maintained the practice of starting each day with my gratitude journal and end by counting my blessings. It helps me feel rooted and steady. I pause, breathe and cherish all that is good in my life. As I deal with inevitable difficulties, it gives me a counter balanced perspective. May you also feel the power of positive, connection and gratitude. There are no material gifts that are more valuable from my perspective.