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De-stressing During the Holidays

No time to meditate? If you are coming upon the busy holiday season, and you can’t imagine adding one more thing to your lengthy “to do” list, no problem! Simply by keeping your awareness in the present moment, instead of caught up in thoughts about the past or the future, you can relieve stress. You don’t need to sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed to meditate. You can practice anytime simply by noticing what you experience through your five senses.

Shopping: Notice what you hear in the store, including the sounds of shoppers, salespeople, music and even holiday volunteers, ringing their bells for charity outside the store’s entrance.

Holiday gatherings: See if you can be fully present to those you interact with, listening to them fully without your mind wandering to past and future events.

Unwrapping presents: Notice the color or pattern of the wrapping, how tightly or loosely it is wrapped and the sound it makes as you tear the paper.

Holiday baking: See if you can take your time baking, being fully present with your five senses, noticing sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors and shapes.

Holiday rituals: See if you can be fully present to any holiday rituals you and your family may have, taking your time with them, and fully experiencing their meaning.

Lighting holiday candles: Notice how long it takes the wick of the candle to light. Notice the color and shape of the flame and any heat emanating from it.

Mindfulness is about coming into the present moment with full awareness. If you find yourself getting caught up in regrets about the past or worries about the future, see if you can gently bring your awareness to what you are experiencing in the here and now. Consider giving yourself a wonderful present this holiday season: the gift of presence.