The festive season isn't the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Whether you are feeling financial pressure, loneliness, the anxiety of pending family visits or just the overwhelming press of people at the mall, the holidays can exceedingly stressful.
Here are some quick fixed that will help you get back into the swing of things when you're feeling a little "Bah Humbug."
Meditation is the art of stilling your mind for just a couple of moments a day. This brief reprieve has benefits that last a lifetime. Meditation helps to grow your brain and enables you to better control your emotions. It slows the loss of grey matter, so you stay smarter and it improves your memory and ability to focus while increasing your creative abilities. It lowers stress and anxiety and promotes forgiveness and tolerance—definitely something that will make your holiday season merry and bright.
Meditation isn't easy, but if you persevere, and read more about how to do it, you will be amazed at how it increases your capacity for joy. Find a peaceful, quiet place and sit comfortably. Focus on your breathing and clear your mind. Start with five minutes and increase daily.
Focusing on the positive things in your life helps to relieve anxiety, and gives you a sense of perspective. Studies show that taking a few minutes at the start and end of each day to list the things you are grateful for will help to reduce anxiety levels and improve the quality of sleep. Practicing gratitude also helps to motivate us and elevates our moods.
The Japanese art of forest bathing, or Shinrin-Yoku, requires you to walk in the forest, clear your mind, breathe deeply and open all your senses to the calming effect of Mother Nature. Studies show that a 40-minute walk in the forest has immediate and lasting positive effects on mood, and is an excellent antidote to stress. Forest bathing slows your heart rate while reducing your blood pressure, and you get to breathe in all that fresh air.
The limbic system helps us to process emotions, memory and mood, and it is affected by smell. Scents like lavender, lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang and jasmine have the ability to calm our nerves. Use essential oils in a diffuser, or just dot a drop or two on your clothing, to sooth and calm the nerves.
The holidays can be hectic as you navigate office parties, family feuds, gift buying and perfect holiday meals, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Mindfulness is the practice of being present at all times, of savoring each task and doing it well, rather than doing a bunch of things badly. Sure, it means you won't be able to do as much, and perhaps you won't have time to make everything perfect. But it will mean that you do a few things really well. Those tasks will become enjoyable, and your anxiety levels will drop.
Studies show that mindfulness helps to reduce stress and anxiety, eliminate feelings of being overwhelmed, and make life deeper and more meaningful for those who manage to master this difficult skill.
Whatever you're celebrating this festive season, be mindful and grateful, and spend time in natural places so that your holiday season is deeply satisfying and restful.
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