The gift of attention is a potent calming salve in this hustle-bustle holiday season. Kindness, calm, and patience are so beautifully refreshing for everyone.

One of the realities of the holidays is increased stress and upset occurs in relationships and families. Many of us are pressed for time and stretching our budgets trying to balance our desire to give gifts and getting entangled with the high expectations and dreams of sugarplums dancing in our loved one’s heads.

Many of us spend our resources or increase our use of credit in order to express materially what is actually something emotional and soulful. Often our minds are running all this background noise and we are less present to each other, in the moment.

Consider the additional technological distractions from our devices and social media, this leads many people to have their energy disconnected and scattered. We tend to have less time to ourselves for the things that involve self-care, and just quiet time that will allow us to regroup and center ourselves.

This impacts our internal resources and the patience needed to interact with each other warmly, right at the time of year when we are hoping to celebrate our families and the warmth of the season.

All the joy and wonder we want to cultivate this time of year is still available, even with all this energetic disruption. That joy starts with pausing for a moment of self-care, and an honest connection with someone.

That person next to you, your friend, your partner, your wife or husband, all they really want is to feel connected to you.

Take a long deep breath, then take two. Pause, look at them and feel the connection. If they’re distracted that’s ok, give them a minute and when they look up, say hello…. How are you doing? Then just listen.