Despite the holiday season’s precedence on love and family, it’s easy to get caught up in negativity. Traffic, air travel, the mall or anything that has to do with people can be downright stressful. Even more, this stress may trigger emotional associations with holiday food, making matters worse.
But there is hope: mindfulness. With mindfulness, you can combat negativity and stress. It’s all about the present; not the past and future. Living your life moment to moment versus dwelling on aspects you can’t control (traffic, people, etc.) is liberating. This practice is gaining more and more popularity, and for good reason.
Here’s what mindfulness may look like during the holidays:
Observe and Absorb Your Surroundings
When you’re dashing through terminals or between lines at the mall, slow down. Feel your arms swing and the heel-ball-toe motion of walking. Look up and around at the crowd and take notice of individuals, not just people, and their expressions. When you really observe what’s around you, you don’t have time to worry about being late or getting everything you need at the mall. It will just happen.
Actively Listen and Engage
When you ask how someone is at a holiday party, actually listen. While this may be easier with close friends, it can be accomplished with anyone. For example, if you’re at an office holiday party, try to find out a fact about each coworker you talk to that you didn’t know beforehand.
Slow Down Your Eating
You’ve heard this a thousand times, but here it is again. Avoid over indulging by taking the time to truly taste food. If you’re in a group setting, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve ate. Instead, try only eating during lulls in the conversation and ceasing when you or others are speaking. If you’re still having trouble slowing down, try practicing mindfulness with something basic, like a raisin.
Stressed out? Breathe
This is paramount to mindfulness. When you feel yourself getting worked up, slow down your breathing, concentrating on the little aspects. The sound of air entering your nose. The expansion and contraction of your diaphragm.
Craft Gifts Instead of Buying Them
It may be too late this season to do this, but there’s always next year. If you have a craft you enjoy or want to try, do it. It’s incredibly easy (and fun!) to get in the moment when you’re working with something tangible.