It’s the holiday season again! That means twinkling lights, festive parties, shopping, planning, family get-togethers… and stress.
Of course, we all want to experience the joy of the holidays without all the anxiety.
So, how can you turn a stressful holiday experience into one that’s more peaceful? By practicing mindfulness techniques.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment. It’s being more aware of your thoughts and feelings and engaging in your surroundings without distraction or judgment.
You may be surprised how powerful a tool mindfulness can be during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Practicing specific mindfulness techniques can be the key to helping you enjoy your holiday experiences more deeply — and managing stress more effectively.
3 Mindfulness Techniques You Can Try This Holiday Season
Mindfulness Technique 1: Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Simple meditation practices, like focusing on your breath or repeating a calming phrase, can be incredibly effective when dealing with stress.
It doesn’t have to be complex; you can just sit quietly and focus on your breath for as little as five minutes. Doing this can help center your thoughts and reduce anxiety.
If you’re unsure of how to start a simple meditation practice, there are plenty of apps or YouTube videos to help you. It’s a great way to regain calm in those stressful holiday moments.
Mindfulness Technique 2: Gratitude Journaling
The holidays are an ideal time to practice gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal, where you jot down things you are thankful for each day, can shift your focus from stress to appreciation.
This practice reminds you that there’s plenty to be positive about, even when things around you seem anything but positive.
Try writing down as few as three things you’re grateful for each morning before you get into the rush of the day. You’ll be amazed at how this can enhance your overall happiness and well-being.
Mindfulness Technique 3: Mindful Eating
It wouldn’t be the holidays without all those holiday dinners and parties — and the food that goes along with them.
To keep yourself from overindulging, which can bring on added stress to the body, try eating mindfully.
Mindful eating is simply savoring each bite and being fully present during meals. It also means not doing other things while you’re eating, like watching TV or looking at your phone.
Those distractions can cause you to overindulge without even realizing it.
Incorporating Mindfulness into Holiday Traditions
While this may sound difficult at first, you can easily add mindfulness practices to your holiday traditions. Try mindful listening during family conversations, fully engaging and appreciating the moment.
Or, if the conversation is steering in a direction you know will bring on anxiety, simply and calmly opt out of that conversation. Instead, focus your attention on the wonderful food, the beautiful holiday decorations, or the other sights, sounds, and smells around you.
Your friends and family will appreciate your attention, and you’ll feel far less anxious and stressed.
Overcoming Common Challenges When Practicing Mindfulness Techniques
Practicing mindfulness during the holidays isn’t without its challenges. Busy schedules may make it seem impossible to find time for meditation, and family members might not understand why you’re taking the time to practice these techniques.
To overcome these challenges, start with brief sessions of mindfulness practice and share the benefits you’re experiencing with loved ones. Small steps can lead to big changes.
By adding these simple practices to your daily routine, you can greatly reduce stress and find more enjoyment in all the wonderful holiday festivities.
Remember, the best present you can give yourself and your loved ones is a calm, present, and joyful you.
To learn more about the health benefits of mindfulness, how mindfulness affects your brain, and so much more, visit our Mindfulness page.
May your days be merry, mindful, and bright!