Do you ever feel as though you have entered rat-race season starting about the end of November? We can become so caught in up in what we think we should be doing for the holidays that we lose track of how we really want to be feeling.

We send holiday cards that wish each other peace and we sing beautiful songs about peace—all the while feeling stressed and cranky.

And as many of us now know, stress is related to hundreds of today's illnesses. So being stressed just might become the cause of an illness this holiday season or exacerbate an existing condition.

But we can do something about holiday stress. I invite you to take a deep breath with me, right now, and imagine that today you can create a whole new holiday for yourself and your family.

Allow yourself to reflect on the moments in years past when you really felt happy during the holidays? What were you doing? Who were you with?

Were you enjoying a holiday drink with friends, watching the kids open their packages, seeing someone devour one of your special holiday-recipe dishes, or snuggling on a stroll with your lover down a street filled with holiday lights?

Allow yourself to focus in on one particular moment. What was it about that moment that made it so special?

Now I invite you to reflect on what you were doing just before that special moment. Did you have a lovely conversation with someone? Did you enjoy a holiday concert or listen to some uplifting music? Did you take a long walk in beautiful holiday surroundings? Did you have a few quiet moments with a cup of seasonally spiced tea?

What did you do that helped put you in a peaceful state of being?

It is difficult to go from feeling upset, rushed, confused, angry, disappointed or stressed out to feeling happy. Happiness tends to come from and out of a state of peacefulness and ease. When we choose activities that inspire peace, we are more likely to experience happiness and joy. In other words, we then experience more of those joyful moments that the holidays are supposed to be providing!

So now you might want to think about which holiday activities inspire the greatest peace in you. Perhaps you love to bake. In that case, the kitchen is the place for you. Perhaps you really enjoy the holiday parties. Then put your attention this year on hosting or attending some great gatherings.

Maybe what you enjoy most is the delight of giving to organizations that help people in need or the care of our planet. So give with delight!

What would your holidays be like if you put a lot of attention into the activities that give you the greatest sense of inner peace and satisfaction—and let the rest of it (or at least most of it) go?

Now, let’s take this one step further. What is the quality beneath those activities that is most important to you? Do you feel a great sense of peace and joy when you are visiting with the people you love? Do you feel fulfilled when you are able to provide a delightful culinary experience?

Do you love the quiet and creativity of making hand-made gifts for people? Do you like the feeling of satisfaction when you buy gifts for children you don’t know that would otherwise not receive gifts? Do you love the excitement of a little drama and pageantry like seeing a ballet, concert or a play? Or do you love that the holidays give you a focus for developing greater kindness in all aspects of your life?

It is the quality of life that the holidays can provide that usually means the most to us. And how we define quality of life varies from person to person, and family to family.

Some years ago my brothers and sister decided to do one of their holiday dinners a little differently. Since all of them worked full-time and none of the family really wanted to cook, they went out for a Chinese dinner. What was important to them was getting together to visit, laugh, and enjoy each other.

So they focused on what was really important and let the rest go. No cooking. No gift exchanges. No need to clean the house for company. They just got together and enjoyed each other.

I love holiday lights. I make sure there are lights outside our house and that my husband and I find time to go for a drive and walks around town to enjoy the lights that others have put up to celebrate the season. So you will find me outside on a ladder, but not in the kitchen baking cookies that we no longer eat.

I give to charities in the name of my friends because shopping isn’t my great love, but giving to what I believe in is important to me.

I listen to both holiday music and meditative music that help set a joyous, loving tone.

Those simple choices allow me to feel great peace during the holidays.

For you, a peaceful holiday might look quite different. Yet each of us has an opportunity to actually create what we love to write and sing about—to create during the holidays the inner peace that ultimately creates the peace we long to experience in our world.

May you and yours enjoy a truly peaceful holiday season!

Author's Bio: 

Misa Hopkins is the author of the best-selling book, “The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything,” named the first-aid handbook for the new 21st Century consciousness. Hopkins is an astute observer of human motivation and potential. Her observations about the healing progress of her clients and her own miraculous healings led her to ground-breaking conclusions about why people remain ill. In her writing and workshops, she provides insights about breaking through barriers to wellness. You can ready more of her work a