Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends! This is a time to pause and reflect upon all things we are thankful for. Whether you are together with family or spending the holiday alone, I want you to know how very thankful I am to have you in my Opening Doors Within community!

For many of us, this week is the beginning of the holidays. As we dive in, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as well as feeling rushed and triggered by stress, time pressures, and family members.

I’m excited to share a mindfulness practice and one of my favorite tools to help you navigate the terrain.

The Mindfulness Practice: Recognize and Acknowledge

Recognize when you get triggered by overwhelm, anxiety, stress or fear.

Slow things down and recognize when you get triggered and your immediate reaction to that trigger.

​For example,

Recognize when you get triggered and react by snapping out as someone.

Recognize when you get triggered and react by spinning in drama or frustration.

Recognize when you get triggered and react by reaching for control or perfectionism instead of going with the flow.

Slow things down and simply recognize it.

Acknowledge how this feels in your body. Does it feel tight, heavy and constricted? How do your head and shoulders feel? Notice.

Acknowledge how this is impacting your life. How’s this trigger and your reaction impacting your health, your relationships, your intimacy with your spouse and your fun and joy in life?

This takes practice. It’s almost as if you are standing outside your body and observing yourself. Recognize when you get triggered and acknowledge your reaction to the trigger and the impact this is having on your well-being and life. Practice this. It’s like building a new muscle.

Then, when you’re ready, go onto the next step: Insert a Pause.

Between trigger and reaction there is a space. In that space is your power to choose your response.

Below are two examples of inserting a pause.

#1. When overwhelmed, recognize when you’re triggered and “spinning.” Acknowledge the impact it’s having on you.

Insert a pause. Take a breath or two and come back into your body. Continue breathing. Try to relax. Breathe again.

From this place, look at the task you are doing and break it down into steps. Ask yourself, “What is the next immediate step I can take now?”

Pause and breathe between each step and focus only on the task in front of you. Take it one step at a time.

#2. When triggered by another person, recognize it and insert a pause. In that pause, take a breath and look at your choices.

One choice: You could react. You know that choice and its impact.

Another choice: You could excuse yourself and leave the room.Go to the bathroom, walk outside, or get a drink of water.

If you are on the phone, you could call call them back.

In the pause, give yourself time to look at your choices and the impact of each choice. Embody each choice…how does each feel in your body? Take your time and breathe.

Then, consciously respond to a choice that feels good inside. A choice that feels light and right for you.

Will this take practice? Yes. Is it worth it? You bet!

Learn to consciously respond from a place of choice. In this response lies your growth and your freedom.

Has this been helpful? How do you handle overwhelm and difficult people in your life? I’d like to know. Please share your thoughts, ideas and feedback with me in the comments below. Thanks!

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