Navigating the holiday when life feels hard...

You are worthy
  of peace!


How to be open to 

receiving peace anyway!

a 3-day guide to navigate into the New Year

Day 1


Hi friend,


I’ve experienced holidays when it’s as if I could literally feel my heart hurt. When my home had a fire and I lost all my material things—clothes, furnishings, photos and special mementos—It was painful. When I was going through a divorce, I felt deep loneliness. The year the man I was once married to took his life, it felt uncomfortably confusing and sad. And when my father died, I felt the emotions of loss during Christmas.


I openly share a handful of my difficult experiences with you for a reason: I think it’s important to be able to recognize when we are hurting (and why), and also acknowledge that we are not the only one who is going through difficulty.


The depth of what people go through behind the scenes is mind-blowing. Please keep this in mind for yourself and others. There is no hierarchy of hurt, when the heart is involved. If you’re hurting, give yourself the grace to feel the pain, yet also know that whatever you are enduring in this season of life, you are worthy and deserving of experiencing peace this time of the year, as well.


You may be thinking, “How do I navigate through this, when all I can think of, is what isn’t going right for me?” 


Do you know that you can feel peace and pain at the same time?


It is possible to
feel pain and peace

at the same time.



Although it feels hard, allowing yourself an open door to receive peace, is a necessary action to actually feel it.


I love this definition of peace that Webster shares: Peace is freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts and emotions.


Here is a truth: what we magnify, magnifies. And through experience, I have found that half the battle of navigating through a difficult time, is navigating our mind—our disquieting and oppressive thoughts and emotions. 


On the first day of this study together, let’s consider the following: 


1. It’s one thing to recognize that you are hurting or not feeling peaceful during the holidays, but also important to decipher why you are hurting. (This is where paper, and pen come in). So often I blame someone or something for how I feel, when in reality, the reason why I’m feeling hurt, is quite different. Take a moment to write down why you are not feeling as you desire. 


2. The next exercise is a selfless one: Write down the names of other people who are going through difficulty right now. (People you personally know or have heard about through association). Not only write their names down, but also what they are enduring. 


3. Ask yourself: Am I willing to receive peace in any form during the holidays? Knowing that I am hurting, frustrated or not feeling like myself, am I open to receiving freedom from my own disquieting or oppressive thoughts and emotions? 


4. If your answer above was thoughtfully, ‘yes, I am willing,’ next consider the impact of that alone. So many people will go through the holidays without being open to receiving one ounce of peace, joy or contentment. If you’re feeling bold, write this down: ‘I am willing and open to receiving peace even in the midst of my pain.’ (Personally, I would place this paper where you will see it often in the weeks ahead).



3 Researched ideas

that have an enormous impact on mindset and sense of well-being.



Let’s complete today’s reading by reviewing three researched ideas that can have an enormous impact on our mindset and sense of well-being: 


A. Commit conscious acts of kindness:

Fact: In a long line of empirical research including one study of over 2,000 people, has shown that acts of altruism—giving to friends and strangers alike—decrease stress and strongly contribute to enhanced mental health (1). 


P.s.: This doesn’t have to be monetary! May creativity be emphasized, instead. Trust me when I share; making a conscious effort to do kind things for others, will impact your well-being. 


B. Exercise a signature strength: 

Everyone has gifts, talents and beautiful characteristics. Each time we use a skill, whatever it is, we experience a burst of positivity. Ask: What do I enjoy doing? What have others expressed I am good at? (Baking? Helping others? Singing? A sport?). In my own life, as an example, one of my strengths is that I am good at encouraging others. When I take the focus off what I am enduring and reach out to another person to encourage them through their struggle, I am using a trait that is deeply embedded in who I am. 

Fact: When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups (2).


And may you be reminded, that the depth of who you are, reigns over any hurt or expectation of whom you feel you should be for yourself or others. Your strengths are accessible right now and allot an open door for peace to enter. 


C. Find something to look forward to: 

This one is near to my heart, because in general, I have completely down-played my life experiences. I’ve taken, what for some seems dreamy, and made it my normal. I think we need to be very mindful to not allow what we experience each day, to be considered mundane. Let’s recollect the beginning of today’s reading where I reminded us both about what people endure. The opposite is also true: what you experience on any given day, may be considered a gift to many. I have personally committed to allow myself the gift of anticipating even the small things; a TV series that is on mid-week, a scheduled tea with a girlfriend, my husband coming home from work and enjoying a meal together. 

Fact: Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain much as the actual reward will. One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. (3) 


Day 1 
Be open to receiving peace.


If you want to receive peace even while you are still hurting,
it is available to you. You have to be willing to receive it. 

Willingness is an intention. 
It’s preparing ourselves to act and, in this case, receive. 

You are not alone and 
are not the only one struggling right now. 

What we focus on, magnifies. 

There are many ways to impact mindset and sense of 
well-being. Commit to leaning forward, even though it may feel uncomfortable, and begin to use resources
that benefit your desire for peace.




xo, dannielle



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Peace is freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts and emotions.



(1): Post, S.G. (2005) Altruism, happiness and health: Its good to be good. International  Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12, 66-77

(2): Seligman, M.E.P., Steen, T.A. Park, N. & Peterson, C (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions, American Psychologist, 60  41-421

(3): Just the expectation of a mirthful laughter experience boots endorphins 27% HGH 87% .American Physiological society. www.physorg.com/news63293074.html



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