1. Practice quality listening. Nod at appropriate times, and remember you’ll miss them when they’re dead.
2. Use inclusive thoughts and language. Think “we” when referring all of our different religious beliefs, dogmas, races, classes, abilities, politics. Avoid the “us/them” schism. When your wonderful Republican churchgoing family starts showing off their guns, be like, “Wow, isn’t it amazing that we’re one, big family?” Or, “What a fascinating study of traditional Southern values!” Or, “Go, biodiversity!” Or, “How great that they love me—a radical feminist commie on the far-left fringe?” [Can substitute said labels with “person.” How great that they love me—a person! etc.]
3. Be a scientist. Witness the chaos rather than succumbing to it. Become a curious and interested observer. Bring a notepad if it helps. “Wow, check out that meltdown vortex. How about I not get sucked into it!”
4. When you’re feeling stressed out, reach for a glass of water or a breath of fresh air. Humans love air and water.
5. Whether you're traveling or not, learn a new, local plant. It’ll help you connect to your surroundings. Take a picture and tag Ancestral Acupuncture, if you want. hashtag sanity
6. Bring an herbal ally with you for grounding and immunity. You can bring a tincture of St. Johns Wort or a bag of yarrow leaves, or whatever. Wear it like a talisman around your neck or in your pocket, or drink to wear it on the inside. Your plant ally has your back.
7. Accessorize for psychic and physiological protection. When I'm feeling depleted, I like to wear an amethyst necklace my aunt Opal made, and a scarf around my neck because the back of the neck is another psychically-sensitive area. (That's why old Chinese people always wear scarves--to protect against colds and flus.) I also sometimes wear a red, woven belt wrapped tight around my waist. Lots of traditional cultures still use this as a means of protection. Any piece of fabric will do.
8. Say something funny. Humor harmonizes.
9. Hang out with the kids. No one’s saner.
10. Go for a walk in nature. Trees will always be there to tell you, “Calm the eff down.”
Be the grown-up you want to see in the world.
Don’t beat yourself up when you fail miserably. We’re talking about family, after all.
Hot New Tips for 2016:
The family that watches Bob Ross together stays together. Gather 'round, and witness him gracefully spin mistakes into beauty. Generalize those "happy little clouds" to the air around you.
If all else fails, bond over your shared hatred of Comcast!