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Mindfulness During the Holidays
12/13/2022 4:24:18 PM
When the holiday season approaches, many people become emotionally overwhelmed by several expectations, which can drain happiness and cause stress. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce the stress levels associated with negative holiday feelings.

Mindfulness During the Holidays

Corewell Health

Mindfulness During the Holidays

When the holiday season approaches, many people become emotionally overwhelmed by several expectations. For example, do you feel anxious or worried more often around the holiday season? Do you wonder how to spend your holiday better than before, where to buy affordable gifts for your friends, or where to celebrate the season?

These lingering questions can drain your happiness and cause stress. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce the stress levels associated with negative holiday feelings.

Mindfulness means maintaining your awareness and thoughts in the current moment without focusing on your past or the future. It also involves practicing acceptance by paying attention to your present feelings, senses and environment without judging them.

Why is Mindfulness Helpful During Stressful Times Like the Holidays?

Mindfulness helps you anticipate when stress might occur, recognize when it does and gives you tools to work with it. This can allow you to shift from feeling stressed into experiencing a kinder, friendlier attitude to yourself and others.

Causes of holiday stress

Stress related to the holiday can happen because of triggers such as:

  • insufficient time to plan for the activities involved
  • excessive commitments over specific responsibilities
  • worrying about the financial budget
  • pressures involving finding the best gifts to give family and friends
  • family-gatherings and get-togethers
  • over consumption of food, alcohol or other substances
  • lack of sleep

How to recognize stress

Whatever the cause, recognizing the signs of stress will allow you to address the feelings through mindfulness . Signs of stress can affect your emotions, thinking patterns, behaviors, body sensations and physical health. Some common symptoms of stress include:

Emotional symptoms

  • feeling moody and easily angered or frustrated
  • loss of control, uneasiness or an overwhelming feeling
  • low self-esteem and somewhat depressed
  • avoiding people

Physical symptoms

  • upset stomach and nausea
  • tensed muscles and aches
  • low energy
  • sleeplessness
  • headaches
  • nervousness and trembling

Cognitive symptoms

  • continuous worry
  • forgetfulness
  • lack of concentration and focus
  • negative thinking patterns
  • poor judgment

Behavioral symptoms

  • appetite changes
  • avoiding or postponing responsibilities
  • changes in use of certain medications, drugs, or alcohol

Mindfulness practices that can be used to nourish the mind, body and spirit include:

  • Pausing to pay close attention to the physical world around you through noticing your senses, emotions and thoughts. Bringing a friendly, non-judgmental attitude to whatever is being noticed. Not trying to change things, rather, allowing them to be as they are.
  • Practicing a brief mindfulness meditation with this six minute Awareness of Breath practice
  • Learning the One Breath, Two Feet practice so that you can use it in the midst of a stressful moment.
  • Trying this mindful movement/body scan/friendliness practice
  • Bringing your mind back to focus on and experience the present moment instead of worrying about the past or future. Doing so will make you feel more aware and mindful of your current conditions to avoid stress.

Benefits of meditation

When you’re mindful, you experience reduced stress and anxiety, improved performance and more awareness in your present situations. One way of mindfulness is to practice meditation, which has the following benefits:

  • improved memory, mental health and well-being
  • decreased episodes of depression
  • decreased anxiety
  • better-focused attention and concentration
  • satisfied relationships
  • improved self-awareness and self-esteem
  • better physical health

You get several significant benefits when you practice mindfulness meditation during the holiday. It helps you to manage the stress triggers associated with the holidays. You will also recognize, be able to anticipate when stress occurs and work with it in a skillful way. Perhaps most importantly, being present with a friendly attitude toward yourself and others allows you to experience and share the true joy of the holidays.

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