Mindfulness During the Holidays
During a recent discussion about mindfulness, a colleague asked me, “What’s it like to have a stress-free life?” I know they were mostly joking, but it was a good conversation starter! Mindfulness is not about eliminating stress, it’s about changing the way we respond to that stress. That may not be what any of us wants to hear! I have certainly wished that mindfulness, meditation, and yoga could get rid of my stress. What they do, instead, is make it easier for us to separate ourselves from our stress. That way, we stop being defined by our automatic reactions to events and begin to choose our actions more carefully.
So if you can’t make stress go away, why bother practicing mindfulness at all? For years, one of my mentors would describe how it was possible to watch emotional things unfold around me without getting caught up in them. I found this so hard! But when I really started to use contemplative practices like mindfulness, I started to understand my mentor’s perspective. I was slowly able to sit in the presence of people’s emotions and hold on to my sense of Self. Sometimes it was only for a few moments, but it was clear progress.
Hectic holidays are a great time to use mindfulness skills. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Notice your whole experience with all your senses. What do you see, touch, hear, etc? How might you practice gratitude for all your senses? Since life is full of triggers, there’s always room to improve here. Just know that coping more effectively with your daily stress is indeed possible. If you’ve been wanting to find some peacefulness in the chaos of your everyday experience, begin today and if you stop practicing, have compassion first and begin again. Wishing you holidays filled with ease and grace!
Amber is currently accepting clients. To learn more about her schedule and availability, please call/ text/ email her at 424-254-9565 / Amber@pacificmft.com.