Along with the holidays comes planning, cooking, gift-buying, decorating, family-gathering, talking, driving, and much more. Many aspects of the holidays can be stressful; if you’ve recently lost a loved one or have disconnected from family, it can add even more stress. Mindfulness is a wonderful technique that can help you stay grounded, focused, and relaxed. Mindfulness is, “the process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.” The practice of mindfulness is important for day-to-day living, but can be very crucial throughout the holidays as well. The following are tips for practicing mindfulness this holiday season:
- Practice active listening. Be present and truly hear what your family members are telling you. Be receptive to their stories, emotions, facial expressions – focus in. Active listening will allow you to tune out any external noises of distraction and connect with your friend or family member.
- Be open to a range of emotions within yourself. The holidays can bring about a wide range of emotions, including happiness, sadness, fatigue, loneliness, etc. Allow yourself to truly feel these emotions.
- Reflect on the meaning of the holidays. The holidays aren’t about extravagant gifts or meals – they are about reflecting on our lives and deriving meaning from them. Provide yourself with the time to discover what is most meaningful to you this holiday season. What gives you the most joy and satisfaction? What are you celebrating? What are you grateful for?
- Practice mindful activities throughout the day. Allow yourself to mindfully eat. Slowly taste every bite. Experience the flavor, the aroma, the chatter, the beautiful silence, whatever it may be. Just be. Explore the beauty that being in the moment has to offer. The Huffington Post notes meditative walking, meditative eating, and focusing on breathing as a few exercises to keep you grounded.
- Engage in gratitude. The more we focus on what we’re grateful for, the less we can feel envious of others or pity for ourselves. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for. In its simplest form, this could be your life, your health, your safety, your home, your pets, your children. Focus in on these things you are grateful for and find ways to show them, if you can, just how much value they bring to your life.
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