With only a week to go until Christmas, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is fully underway for each and every one of us.
Our to-do lists are a mile long, filled to the brim with things like shopping, baking, hanging lights, wrapping presents, taking photos, attending parties, sending cards, and much, much more.
Adults find themselves racing out to pick up missing ingredients at the grocery store and kids are kept busy visiting and re-visiting their wishlist to make sure that they haven't found even bigger and better gifts to ask for from the big guy in red.
I don't know about you, but I find that during the holidays it can be even more difficult to focus on what truly matters than the rest of the year. Facebook is filled with messages about online bargains on toys, television ads show off the latest and greatest gadget that must be bought, and don't even get me started on Pinterest and the images that are pinned and repinned that make us wonder if our cookies or tree are up to par.
Through it all, how do we not lose sight of what is truly important during this time of year?
This holiday season, it's so important to stop and be thankful.
To just take a moment to remember how blessed we are and what it is that really matters in life. No matter if our personal situation seems brighter than bright or bleaker than bleak, we can all look around at the blessings that make our lives unmistakeably, magically, amazingly our own.
In the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I know that I'm not the only parent that has looked at our own children with tears in our eyes and has felt a combination of a beyond-words thankfulness mixed with a profound sadness for those 20 children that were lost. And even though we all feel helpless for ways to move on from this horrific event, just taking the time to focus on the blessings in our own life can actually help.
"The very act of verbalizing, listing or journaling what you have to be thankful for reduces stress," says Dr. Dr. Doug Walker, psychologist, clinical director of Mercy Family Center in New Orleans and an expert in coping with stress who has helped survivors of Hurricane Katrina, Japan's tsunami, Joplin's tornado and others through some of their darkest days.
"It stops us in our tracks. There’s almost something magical about listing what you have to be thankful for. It can turn things around very quickly because all of a sudden you are looking at all you have to be grateful for. It’s all about perspective."
Nothing will change what happened last week and bring back those amazing children and adults. However, taking steps to not focus on what is wrong with the world and instead do what we can to help others and spread positivity is what the holidays are all about. There are plenty of opportunities for you and your family to donate time, money, food, gifts, and much more to help pass blessings on to those who may need it.
This holiday season, we all need to set aside the pressure and stress and take a moment to count our blessings. While it seems like everywhere we turn we feel like we need to do more, shop more, buy more, cook more, eat more... instead, you can join Mercy and log onto OurBlessingsCount.com and add your blessings to their tally.
As well as bringing your own joy by realizing just how much you have in your life to be thankful for, you'll be able to click on the falling snowflakes and see how others have been blessed as well.
While this holiday season may be filled with more heartache than others past, taking a minute to reduce your stress and try to find some peace can help us all.
Mercy recognizes the pressure we put on ourselves and our families over the holidays and they want to remind us that 'Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.' One way we can do this is to pause, list our blessings, and share them with others. Let’s count our blessings together at www.OurBlessingsCount.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mercy. The opinions and text are all mine.
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