Today, although I am feeling content knowing that I will see my family very soon, I am reminded that the holidays can be a very stressful time for a lot of people and thought it might be a good time to remember some of the tricks I have used throughout the years to change my perspective when times are hard and I need to find more peace and calm.
1. I imagine that I am slowly zooming out over my physical location and place myself, as if I am on a map, in the room I'm in, the building, the street, the neighborhood, the city, the state, the region, the country, the continent, etc. until I am just a speck in the universe.
2. I close my eyes and imagine myself hugging and exchanging good will with everyone I can think of who I am not feeling completely at peace with.
3. I think back in time to what I was doing yesterday at this time and then last week, last month, last year, five years ago, ten years ago, etc. It helps me remember that troubling things are transient and that the themes of what is important to me remain pretty much constant.
4. I imagine myself as a ninety year old woman talking about my life -- the things I am most proud of and the things I regret -- to help put into perspective specific things I am currently worried about.
5. While walking around town, I imagine that everyone I walk by is my brother, sister, or close friend. Or, something else that works in a similar way for me is to imagine that all the people I am walking by are exactly equal to me in every way and in no way better or worse.
6. Additionally, I have found Metta helpful and also simple breathing meditations.
What tricks do you have?