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De-Stress During The Holidays By Being Thankful In All Things

November 26, 2012 by  

De-Stress During The Holidays By Being Thankful In All Things

The holiday season is upon us once again. The holidays are a time to be with our families and reflect on how thankful we are for our many blessings. I believe that life is perfect in everything we experience. Whether it seems, looks or feels painful in any way, there is always a silver lining. If we look deeper, we will find the positive and discover what we have learned from the experience.

Every time my family has a holiday dinner, we go around the table and each person tells what he is thankful for. As we recognize the value of every experience in our lives, our thankfulness will increase. Having an attitude of gratitude is the first step to living a fulfilled life. It’s not what happens to us in life that matters; it is how we handle what happens to us.

Write In A Gratitude Journal And Watch Your Life Improve

Developing an attitude of gratitude toward every person, thing and event in your life is an effective way to strengthen your emotional resilience and reduce stress during the holidays. A gratitude journal makes it easy to focus on the positive especially in any given stressful situation. It is also a tool to help us recognize that we are blessed. Here’s what to do:

  1. Get a blank notebook or journal and start writing every day.
  2. Gratitude journal writing is more effective at the end of the day. Simply list at least three things (per day) that you are grateful for in this journal.
  3. Take each of the things you are grateful for and write a sentence or two to expound on them. Do this consistently each day, and your life will improve. When you have written about all the obvious things, then dig deep and write about the subtle small things you have noticed such as young children, nature, flowers, bumblebees, garden vegetables and any other amazing thing you are grateful for.
  4. Extend yourself beyond the journal. Start telling people in your life that you are grateful for them and the little things they do to bless your life. The response may be so great that you will do it on a regular basis.

Emotional Survival Is As Important As Physical Survival

If someone or something outside of your control harms, triggers or upsets you, look at it as a blessing so you can learn something from it. Be grateful and thank God for the experience and what you have learned. Know that you might be playing a role in someone else’s life lesson. Practice the art of not taking it personally and allowing the other person to learn what they need to as well from the experience.

Don’t be a rescuer in someone else’s life lesson. Never jump in and fix it for someone, or he will become weak and dependent on you. Be kind and listen, but let him know that you trust him to make the right decision and that he is very capable of making correct decisions. Then, lovingly support him in that decision. If his choice is something you cannot live with, then you must do what is right for you and allow him to learn from his mistakes.

If you are having trouble with a spouse or child or any in other relationship, make a list of all the things you are grateful for about the person involved. Your relationship with that person will improve. Let go of negative energy, releasing hard feelings and replacing them with love. Go one step further and share the positive list you made with him.

If you have unresolved negative feelings toward anyone in your life, write a letter to that person explaining yourself very clearly. Get it all out of you. Seal the letter and address it to him. Go to a backyard fire pit or fireplace where you can burn the letter with a match. When it goes out, light another one. Keep lighting one match after another until the letter is all burned up. Count how many matches it took to burn the entire letter. That is how many issues associated with this person that you let go of. Let it burn up all the negative feelings. You will feel much better and you never have to mail the letter to the person or talk about it with them.

My husband has a question that he likes to ask people who are having struggles: How do you know that you are in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing? The answer is: Because you are doing it.

As we recognize the value of every experience, negative or positive, in our lives, our thankfulness will increase automatically and we will be wise enough to receive all experiences with thankfulness.

Practice The Golden Rule

Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. The power of unconditional love and acceptance is what will help us get through an emotionally stressful time. One of the biggest problems I see in society is the lack of respect and tolerance for human differences and beliefs.

We all think we have the best religion, the best beliefs and the best ideas. We think that if others would just do it our way, they would be happy. Every person on the face of the Earth walks to the beat of his or her own drum. All drums are not alike, and they play differently. The uniqueness is what makes diversity. We are all on this Earth to gain an experience in a different way. That is why it is so important to let people be who they are.

I am not talking about letting people harm us or violate common laws that we all live by. But honor the uniqueness in everyone. Do not expect them to think like you do or fit into any kind of box that you, religion or society has set up. Do yourself a favor and accept your own uniqueness as well.

I believe we were all put on this Earth to experience the craziness of an upside-down world. Nothing is as it should be in an ideal situation. It gets confusing and we must figure out how to survive. The first step is accepting what is instead of fighting against it; just say, “I accept this situation as it is.” If you think something needs to be changed or someone needs to act or be different, turn it over to God and ask through prayer for that persons heart to be softened and changed. My experience has been that the only person I can change is me,and most the time that is very difficult to do without Gods help.We must be a light and not a judge.

Practice Forgiveness Therapy

We must forgive every person who harms us in any way or does evil to our loved ones or us. It is hard to forgive someone who has truly done us harm. We must reach into the deepest part of our souls to do this. This is where mighty prayer comes in real handy.

So many people are angry with the government, the President, the politicians, their neighbors and their enemies. The only way to fight someone evil is with God and his angels helping us. Forgiveness of ourselves for even thinking mean thoughts is as important as forgiving others. Anger, hatred and an ego-based desire to be right will destroy us. Surrender to “what is.” Instead of fighting against it, pray for the situation to be solved in the best way for all people involved. Prayer is more powerful than any other weapon we can use. We can find solutions to our problems this way.

You might be thinking that I am an idealistic person with fantastical ideas, but I have lived long enough to know that this is the first thing to do in any bad situation. We waste so much time and energy being angry and fighting against something we want to change but have absolutely no control over. If someone offends you, just take a deep breath and know that the mirror is on him. He is seeing in you something he doesn’t like in himself. People who have learned to accept and forgive usually do not see the flaws in others. They love unconditionally and live a much more peaceful life with less drama.

Do not retaliate and try to harm others who have offended you in any way. Send them blessings and prayers. The easiest way to do this is to ask God to take care of the situation for you and trust that he will, stand back and watch Him do it and thank Him for what he has done. Miracles really do happen.

I am a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and I have used these techniques for my own life as well as to help others. Emotional survival is important in everything we do. If we are emotionally stable, we can reach out and light a path for others.

–Peggy Layton

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • eddie47d

    Thank you Peggy. Your articles on surviving in an ever changing world are always wise and sensible.

  • Stuart Shepherd

    Ms. Layton-
    As one who has just about “seen it all” in life (you’d be amazed, but let’s not “go there” right at the moment) I am almost shocked at the amount of true wisdom you have “packed” into that one simple little article! It is literally a masterpiece in teaching wholeness, satisfaction with life, peace of mind- “happiness,” if you will. It is worth it’s weight in golden 1s and 0s, and I plan to convert it to paper and give it as TRUE Christmas presents to those I truly care about. It’s just totally amazing to me how you summed up basically all of therapeutic psychology in a few simple paragraphs. Bravo!

  • steve

    wouldn’t it be less stressful if everyone new the truth about xmas. about how it’s not the right date of jesus birth, which by the way was sept-oct. read the bible and see what the sheep herdsman were doing with there sheep at night. in deccember they would put them inside because of the cold . but in sept-oct they were still out in the fields at night. back then there were pagan holidays in dec and later on the merchants got together with the priest and combined the birth with their celebrations for money purposes. just like today its all about the money. maybe if people were told the truth they might not spend the money and give more acknowledgement to jesus birth in the right month.

    • JimH

      Hi Steve, The story I heard was when the Romans were persecuting Christians, there was a pagan holiday in Dec. The Christians celebrated at that time so it co-insided with the pagans. That way when being seen celebrating the Romans didn’t know it was for the birth of Christ, instead of the pagan holiday. It was to avoid persecution. There are so many stories out there it is hard to know what is the real one.
      I just rejoice in the birth of our savior, no matter what day it really is or isn’t. That is what the point of it really is.

      • Kate8

        JimH – The pagan celebration to which you refer is the winter solstice, Dec. 21, the shortest, darkest day of the year. The sun goes dark for 3 days while crossing the nadir, then is “reborn” on the third day, or Dec. 25. This is why it is called the “birth of the sun/son”.

        I think Christians make much of the idea that it is pagan in origin. The ancient Hebrews also followed the natural calendar of seasons and cycles and, since God created all, including the cycles and the seasons, it would seem a reasonable correlation to me.

        BTW, the Pope has just issued a “confession” about this very issue.

    • Charlie

      Well,,,since no one has said how to Pray to or join up with this God, or Jesus ,,,and ,,,you pointed some well known flaws about this Man Jesus, can you tell us some “Basics” from The Holy Bible on, how to become a Bible Christian ? According to Scripture?. Meanwhile..
      Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing… Acts 2:38 is salvation…

      Charlie Freedom

      • steve

        you can start with math 6;9-15

      • steve

        by the way god has a name just like you. yehweh , translated inton english , jehovah. pslams 83;18

      • steve

        on being a true christian you can start with math 7;16,17 . then 2timothy3;16,17. then math 4;10. thenjohn 13;35 . then acts 4;12 accepting jesus as god means of salvation. john 18;38 . math 24;14 those who worship the true god base their teachings on the bible. they worship only jehovah and make his name known. they show genuine love for one another. they accept jesus as god’s means of salvation. they are no part of the world. and they preach god’s kingdom as man’s only hope.

      • Charlie

        We gave you the answer ,after the questions ….What Peter said to do at Acts 2:38, “is” Salvation !… That’s what Paul did at Acts 9:17,18 to gain Salvation,,, Paul told some people at Acts 19 to get re baptized because they did it improper the first time…
        BAPTISM IS SALVATION ,,,accomplished per Acts 2:38…
        Most Americans ARE NOT Christians according to The Holy Bible,,,BUT!!!,,,they “”Think”” they are, according to their brainwashing … What did King Jesus say at John 3:5?,,,in short words King Jesus said , get baptized ,……………
        IF you do not have Acts 2:38 squared away? ,,.then,,, your Prayer Power will be very limited because you are only a “”Think””you are Christian instead of a “”Know””you are Christian … Acts 2:38 gives you The Gift of The Holy Spirit, which gives easy power within your particular Gift or Gifts…………….The Bible is True and correct in contexts , most modern day men are liars………… Meanwhile…………….
        Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing…

        Charlie Freedom

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear steve,

      You write: “wouldn’t it be less stressful if everyone new the truth about xmas. (sic)” Neither the celebration of Christmas nor Easter are scriptural. There is no example, command or necessary inference that the apostles or first century Christians recognized those days. However, there is a command and example for Christians to memorialize Jesus’ death on the first day of the week through the taking of the Lord’s Supper.

      Acts 20:
      7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

      1 Corinthians 10:
      16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

      1 Corinthians 11:
      23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for[e] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[f] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

      So to answer your question; yes.

      Best wishes,

      • steve

        bob you are spot on. thank you

  • George Vieto

    What are the websites to write private journals as Peggy has suggested?

  • Peggy Layton

    Just google Gratitude Journals. There are many sites on the internet that give suggestions. I think any journal will do, even a notebook. The more gratitude a person has for any life lesson the less pain they will experience. When I start to have conversations in my mind, I just stop the chatter and the stories about how it should have, would have, and could have been. I go into forgiveness of the person, event, and even myself. I start thanking God for the situation and It seems to stop the mind chatter in its tracks. The helpless, out of control feeling goes away, I turn it over to God, and I feel much better.

  • Roger Tharpe

    Being thankful to God is good. Having a relationship with God and being thankful becomes really meaningful. –


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