For stronger relationships, focus on positive moments and patterns.
Every holiday—just like every day—is an opportunity to nurture relationships. The way you experience others in the present is largely guided by information your mind processes from your past, present and even your future, all of which you associate with and bring to bear upon present moments. This processing has profound effects. It shapes what you think, feel and do. And this largely determines the outcome of events.
Such mental activity occurs mostly under your radar and at very high speed, in just milliseconds. Acting mostly on automatic pilot, this processing is evolution’s answer to the overwhelming amount of information streaming at us all day long. By the time you get an idea of how you will act in a given situation, you are likely already in motion, for better or worse. Most of us just go through the day and do what we do, not giving it much thought. And that’s usually fine with us, especially if things are going well. But as soon as plans and behaviors start going awry, we get antsy.
All experiences are not equal. Some of the usual places your mind can go are: To old memories of similar moments and your responses to those; to old emotional files that merge with the details of your present situation and also to related future expectations.
One of the best gifts you can give dad on Father’s Day is to preload your mind with patterns that generate more closeness, joy and peace.
Behavioral and emotional patterns will emerge. The more each behavior has been repeated in your past, the more predictably and powerfully a similar situation will ignite it in the present. This is why you hear people say things like, “I always have a slow, long breakfast on holidays,” or say, “We always wind up quarreling on the holidays, then making up and then trying to make what’s the best of the remainder of the day.”
The truth is, the mind will repeat a pattern over and over until it gets the message that you want to do things differently. It’s not much different than when you choose to sit in a certain spot in your favorite restaurant or say the same thing, word for word, when someone asks, “How are you?” But sometimes you want more control and a better, more meaningful pattern.
One of the best gifts you can give dad on Father’s Day is to preload your mind with patterns that generate more closeness, joy and peace. A nice way to do this is to clean out old dysfunctional reactions and replace them with warmer, kinder ones.
Use these guidelines to build more positive moments into Father’s Day—and every day.
Energy Bites for Father’s Day:
- Use devices too much. Try to have a “mostly” device-free day and go for more organic family and personal time. Your mind and body and relationships will be glad you did.
- Let unwanted memories invade your day. You can start to identify some of the usual invaders the night before. Then tell yourself that when they arise the next day you’ll be ready for them and not allow them entry. Plan a positive response instead so it will kick in when you need it.
- Take a small day trip to a place where you and Dad have had special moments in the past.
- Remember good times. Tell stories or look at photo albums together.
- Say something loving.
- Take time to savor the positive details of the day.
- Listen often without having to respond.
- Find something—a conversation or common sports interest—to build on later.
- Create pockets of peace and quiet and soak it all in.