We are on the threshold of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. This is a time of year that if we’re not careful, we can get lost in our own stress induced chaos and as a result, miss out on the present. Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown out a lot, but for good reason. It’s important to remember to look up from your cell phone, make eye contact, smile, and connect. When we are open minded to the world, the world opens to us, giving us the chance to feel gratitude.

This also happens to be the time of year, where many people struggle. Not everyone has a family to come home to, or a roof over their head, or good health. In this issue, our veteran “Making A Difference” writer, Matt Salis, shares with us his new passion project, The Stigma. He and his team are working tirelessly in their mission of fighting for people who have been stigmatized by our society. Addiction education and recovery, helping children who are disadvantaged economically and educationally, and supporting people trying to survive homelessness. If you find your fortune is in abundance, maybe this is the time to lift others. 

So this season, choose to surround yourself with grateful people in an effort to develop habits of optimism.

Negative things happen, stress can and will take hold at times. That’s life, but by practicing gratitude we take away the power negativity can have over our mood. So as we dive head first into the season choose to breathe, focus less on the small details like the perfect table setting or what gifts to buy this holiday. Instead, focus more on your people, helping others and making connections that matter.  Happy holidays!

Your neighbors, 

Sam and Shaleen DeStefano

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