December is always a busy month because of
the holiday season. We run around planning
for family get-togethers, celebrations, and
gift giving. It is also a time when we can
be prone to stress and feel
overwhelmed with conflicting emotions.
In Gratitude in Times of Difficulty I
discuss the importance of paying attention
to the value of being grateful and practicing
being grateful as a way to keep and maintain
your sanity no matter what is going on.
In Tips for Holiday Gift Giving I
offer suggestions for keeping the spirit in
the holiday even though you need to cut back
on your spending.
You can get a jump on your holiday shopping
and support Jumpstart at the same time!
Jumpstart for Young Children has an exciting
opportunity to partner with Barnes & Noble
this holiday season. From Saturday, December
6th to Thursday, December 11th, you can use
your holiday goodwill to continue supporting
Jumpstart while doing your holiday shopping.
Barnes & Noble will donate up to 20% of the
proceeds for purchases made using the
Jumpstart promotional code. Our code is
353243 - you can use it at any Barnes & Noble
location or online at www.bn.com/mybookfair
- there is no extra charge for you! For
locations outside of Brooklyn, make sure you
mention that the code is associated with
As you may know, Jumpstart is a national
early education nonprofit organization that
pairs caring adults with underserved
preschoolers in year long one-to-one
mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org
to learn more about Jumpstart.
Once again thank you for helping to get the
word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.
updates on my appearances related to my
newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to
Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with
wedding related questions, please see my
column on WeddingChannel.com at:
And if you would like me to speak to your
group or organization, please contact me
directly at email@example.com or contact
the Speakers' Bureau at
I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with
your friends, loved ones and colleagues by
clicking Send to a Friend button
Wishing you health, peace and balance.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is in bookstores and
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Gratitude in Times of Difficulty
Life is Difficult. Life is Beautiful. And
therein is the
challenge to keep your balance.
Appreciating what you have when you feel you
are losing so much is not easy but can be
done with practice. Gratitude takes
because we tend to focus on the big things
which overwhelm us. When we are in that mode
of thinking and feeling, we feel overwhelmed
with gloom and depression.
These are the times that we must train
ourselves to focus on the small and
things in our lives. Life is in the details.
Do not forget to pay attention to the details
as you attend to your daily life. Keep your
spirit alive. Keep your energy fueled. Do
what you need to do throughout the day to
maintain a level of awareness of the things
and people in your life that are positive and
who bring you joy. Bring joy to others as
Look into the eyes of people you interact
with and smile. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese
monk, reminds us that sometimes your joy can
be the source of your smile, and sometimes
your smile can be the source of your joy. The
artist, Georgia O'Keefe, painted large
canvases of small flowers. She also focused
on the minute details of flower petals. By
doing so, she encouraged the viewer to focus
on the beauty in the things we often
overlook. She reduced the size of large
objects like mountains, making them smaller
than life, simply because, in her view, we
tend to see the big things at the expense of
the small things.
Quieting yourself when in nature and
listening to a birdsong, or to the ocean's
waves, to the wind through the leaves, helps
to bring you closer to your "center" giving
you opportunities to practice gratitude
your ability to hear the birdsong or breathe
in the ocean air). We are helped enormously
when we realize there is much to see and be
grateful for in the small things around us
that we ignore when we feel overwhelmed by
the mountains in our lives.
Being grateful is more than saying thank you
(although that is an important component,
especially when you really mean it and offer
it to the bus boy who clears your table in a
restaurant, to the person who bags your
groceries, or to your children for just being
a part of the family). The key is to be
grateful for what you have now, even if it is
not all that you want. You can be satisfied
AND want more. The two are not mutually
exclusive. They can be held in balance. For
most people, it is usually not things that
bring them happiness. Of course we are
happier when we have a feeling of safety and
comfort, and during difficult times we may
feel consumed about whether we will regain
that which we lost (job, home, money.)
We can truly be grateful for
what we have when we feel we have nothing.
This means paying attention to that which we
take for granted - our very life, the
children we have in our lives, the ability to
wake up every morning, to appreciate the
magnificence of nature, to be moved by a
song, to learn from someone wise who
influenced us at some point along the way.
You always have the choice to be grateful.
You can choose to focus on that which brings
you joy or that which doesn't. This does not
mean you ignore problems. It means that you
will be better able to deal with them, be
more resilient, more creative in figuring out
solutions, and be healthier and calmer in the
midst of a difficult time. Gratitude is a
choice you CAN make.
A Good Daily Habit
Not Taking Things for Granted
With your busy life, you constantly have
choices. You can chain yourself to a computer
or seal yourself in your car as you rush to
and from appointments. Or you can choose to
pay attention to the view as you drive by.
You may also make it a point to consciously
avoid making eye contact with people so you
can remain deep within your own bubble.
Although time alone to refresh and restore
yourself is essential, becoming too focused
on your own life and self without being
conscious of the natural world around you can
impede your ability to keep your sanity
Whatever state you are in your life, make it
a point to
consciously appreciate all you take for
whether it is something in nature or the
qualities of a
Taking life for granted prevents you from
life in the day-to-day.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
The Spirit of Giving
Tips For Holiday Gifts
Because the holidays are coming at a time when
many people need to be more careful about
instead of feeling deprived, feel that the
spirit of giving
will enter a new and different sphere. Think of
alternative ways to celebrate the holidays.
some tips get you started:
- Charities - Consider giving to a
honor of your loved ones.
- Services - Think of gifts as not
comes in a box, but what you can do as a
someone: cook five desserts over five
months, or promise to
for six nights during the year. Think of
what you do
well and "package" that.
- Family Lotteries - Participate in
where each person is responsible for buying a
one person. Talk about what is a reasonable
of money for children's as well as adults'
- Vintage Stores - Look for unique,
gifts in pop and vintage stores.
- Neighborhood Gift Trade - Ask
neighbors if they would like to participate in
a local gift
trade where gently used toys, games and books
packaged and exchanged within the group.
- Personalized Albums - Make a
personalized photo album or scrapbook for a
- Experience Books - Take five or
six pictures of a child or parent/grandparent
and child participating in an activity and
write a book about it. You can write captions
on each page of "Beach Day" (photos or
drawings of the person reading, strolling,
building sand castles, splashing in the surf)
or "Baking Cookies with Grandma" (photos or
drawings of the duo sorting ingredients,
mixing, dropping the batter onto the cookie
sheets, putting the cookies in the oven,
transferring them to a platter.) Your
personal "experience books" are priceless and
can become the beginning of a series.
Whatever you decide, when you wrap, be
the environment. Wrap with recycled paper. Be
creative with newspaper, fabric, and natural
The challenge for the holidays is to be aware
grateful of what and who you have in your
the spirit of the holidays, which is about
peace, joy and
I am not what happened to me; I am what I
choose to become."
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!