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Thoughts for Meaningful Holidays

Published by Anonymous on 2005/12/1 (2989 reads)
We record a monthly segment on KEOM 88.5FM. This is one of those segments that deals with the holidays. We offer it in the hope of making your holidays better.

Thoughts for Meaningful Holidays

Dr Griffin: So Mike, what are we talking about today?

Mike: Well, I thought we’d talk a little bit about the holidays. Some of our listeners have lost loved ones the past year, others have had stressful health related incidents, and still others have had traumas associated with hurricanes and myriad other life events. With all of these difficulties, it’s important to remember the values we have during the holidays – to intentionally redirect our minds to the things that are important to us. One comment that patients often make to me is that they are reminded after a health crisis how much grateful they are for life, family and friends, for health and the ability to get around. Often, our difficulties serve to remind us to appreciate the little things.

Dr Griffin: So, gratitude would be one of those values?

Mike: Absolutely. Recent research at Baylor University has demonstrated the value of gratitude for caregivers. When caregivers actually kept a written journal of things for which they were grateful, they felt much better about their lives and had more positive views about their upcoming week. That's wise advice for all for all of us.

Dr Griffin: What other things might help us redirect our holidays more meaningfully?

Mike: The idea of simplicity is always a concept that is helpful for us to keep in mind. Sometimes that means drawing clearer boundaries about what we can and can't do. Sometimes it means buying fewer gifts and making the gifts we do buy more meaningful. I'm reminded of an article my wife Barb wrote a few years ago in which she told of a conversation with her daughter, Jeni. She had asked Jeni about her most memorable Christmas. This was what Barb wrote: "Without a doubt," Jeni responded, "My best Christmas memory was when we drove to Mineola to cut down a Christmas tree. I dozed in the back of the van for the drive home, crunched up close to the tree, totally engulfed with the heady scent of pine. Then we went to McDonald's drive through and ordered Big Macs and fries-always a comfort food! At that moment, surrounded by family and listening to the Boston Pop's rendition of "Sleigh Ride" on the radio, I felt the absolute ultimate in contentment! Almost nothing could match that moment of connection with family, comfort, contentment and joy." Whatever holiday our listeners celebrate, it is important to keep in mind that what is worthy of memory is the moments we share with our loved ones.

Dr. Griffin: I'll bet family plays an important part of these values?

Mike: Indeed. It is important to be with those we call family. These may not always be folks who are related to us. Sometimes it can be someone whom we care for in a professional role. They got near to us, and we kind of adopted them. We should nurture these friendships. Often these kinds of unrelated friends are closer than our genetically related family. Make time to savor these relationships and cherish them. If our physical family is an emotional minefield to us, we should offer what we can in terms of time together, and respect our need to be apart the rest of the time.

Finally, it is important to nurture our spiritual side. This doesn't necessarily mean religion. It does refer to the things we value, those we hold dear, and the purpose that we feel in our lives. If we value a particular tradition, take comfort in it. Most of all, use this as a time to stop and make a memory.

Tags: meaning   holiday  

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