I love the lines from the poem, If, by Rudyard Kipling. “If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you."

Especially for this festive season and of course for the big day itself. Christmas Day. The room will be filled with high expectations and emotion. Are the gifts the right gifts, did I leave anyone out, will the dinner be ready on time, extended family coming, is there enough to go round?

The list goes on and on, you’re up to high doh, as my mummy would say. Promising herself she wouldn’t go through this again next year.

Have you got the picture? Not only is the turkey cooked and on the table but you’re surrounded by headless chickens.

Madness. Pure madness, but you know you have to watch your P’s and Q’s as one wrong word said and all hell can break loose.

For me, one of the mindfulness benefits for Christmas Day is the gift of presence. What’s going on around you is out of your control but how you respond is within yours. To be calm, and centred when all those around you as the poet says are losing theirs.

Here’s a Christmas tip that I got some years back as a way to centre ourselves and bring down our antenna from fight, flight, to rest and digest. Cover your right nostril with your middle finger and inhale, through the left nostril and exhale through your mouth. Do this exercise ten times and I promise you, you will experience the difference after the tenth breath.

This simple exercise switches our limbic system from the sympathetic nervous system, the fight, flight, to the parasympathetic system, the rest and digest. This will enable you to reset your inner compass and remain centred, pointed in the direction for the next right thing that has to be done.

Remember the bird doesn’t trust the branch — its surroundings — but has faith in its wings. You too have all that you need for the big day, knowing that your best is good enough.

I wish you a very Merry and Peaceful Christmas. Nollaig shona daoibh go léir.