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Keep Your Sanity this Holiday Season: Quick Meditation Tips to Avoid Stress

posted: 11/22/17
by: Katie Morton
Christmas shopping. Shot in Barcelona with Latin American and Polish models
iStock

Coordinating large family gatherings, the never-ending marathon of shopping for presents, difficult discussions around the dinner table... The holidays can be a magical time. They can also be down right stressful!

So, what's the best way to handle that stress? Meditation and yoga expert Erin Joan Lamberty has got us covered with three easy and quick meditation tips to help us avoid (and manage!) stress this holiday season.

1. Take 10 Breaths

Breathing deeply is a simple way to calm your body and mind. Scientifically, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates stress and brings a state of relaxation to the body.

"When you're feeling overloaded or are about to enter a situation that is likely to be stressful, pause, close your eyes, and take 10 deep breaths. This usually takes just under 60 seconds to do and is the quickest way for me to find balance before or after an anxious or stressful moment. Try it before going into the store, when stuck in traffic, or in the bathroom during a party or family gathering," suggests Erin.

Send Out Good Vibes

Compassion meditation practices have been shown to help cultivate greater empathy and regulate emotions. Just like with mindfulness meditation, generating thoughts of safety, health, happiness, and ease for others can have a positive impact on your own brain. This practice is called loving-kindness meditation.

Erin explains, "When I first started trying out loving-kindness meditation I thought it was a little too warm and fuzzy for my personality. But sure enough, after practicing it occasionally over the past several years, I've found it incredibly helpful in difficult moments. It reminds me that I'm human and that the people around me are also just as human, and we could all use some good vibes once in awhile.

Before you roll into your family gathering or office party, take five minutes in a quiet space. Close your eyes and visualize the people that will be in the room celebrating. Imagine everyone having a good time, sharing, and laughing. Keep this image of the group in your mind (including yourself!) while silently reciting the following loving-kindness phrases for everyone.

May we all be safe.

May we all be healthy.

May we all be happy.

May we all live with ease.

Even just a few rounds of directing the phrases towards yourself, your family, or your friends can be helpful in generating a mindset that is more open, generous, and kind during the holiday season."

Treat Your Self...Mindfully

You're working, running around purchasing and returning gifts, and preparing meals, but are you taking the time to treat yourself? In order to be able to take care of others and show up as your best self, you need to take care of yourself. Great, but what does that have to do with using meditation to stay sane through the holidays?

According to Erin, it's not just about treating yourself, it's also about being mindful while you're doing it. "Treat yourself to a nice meal or warm drink (it is still PSL season, after all) in between running errands or during your lunch break. Keep your phone in your bag and any other distractions off the table. Focus on the flavors, smells, and textures. Savor each bite and appreciate how good it is. Mindfulness isn't just about increasing focus, it can also be about more fully enjoying each moment."

With these three, simple meditation tips, you can combat the stress this holiday season and really enjoy all the wonderful, magical moments ahead. Take a deep breath--you got this!