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Loving Your Holiday: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Season
Posted: 12/6/2013 | Wellness Comments
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For most of us, the holidays are a stressful time of year. We spend a huge amount of time and energy preparing for what sometimes amounts to a couple of days of fun. We shop, travel, visit relatives, clean, decorate, cook and socialize. We can expend as much energy in December as we do in three other months, combined. Often we get so wrapped up in our to-do list, we forget to have fun, get present to our intentions and enjoy our loved ones, many of whom we may only see once a year. While you may not feel you can cut back on all the holiday activities, you can certainly find moments to relax, restore, and experience the joy of the season. Here are 5 simple things you can do right now to let go of the holiday stress and feel peaceful:

1.    Breathe. As with meditation, when you inhale and exhale deeply and mindfully, you relax your nervous system immediately. Stop wherever you are, and take a couple of minutes to inhale slowly through your nose, and as deeply as you can. Hold the breath for just a second, and now exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing the exhalation to last longer than the inhalation. As you calm yourself and oxygenate your body, imagine peace penetrating every cell. Inhale peace, exhale more peace into the world.
2.     Connect with nature. It doesn’t matter if you live in the middle of Manhattan, or on a sheep farm in Wyoming. You can connect with nature anywhere, which allows you to feel peaceful and grounded. A great way to connect with our natural environment, and one we often forget, is to look at the sky. Take a moment to examine your “ceiling,” watch the clouds float by, a storm move in. Admire all the shades of gray, blue, and white. Now close your eyes and feel the air against your face. Notice the sensations. Is there a breeze? Is it cold? Continue to breathe deeply as you focus on your connection with nature.
3.    Take a walk. When you’re brain is spinning and you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab a coat and head outside. Breath mindfully as you walk, taking long strides if you can. Swing your arms. Whistle or sing as you walk. You can even skip!  You can also count your breath as you walk, inhale for a certain number of steps, exhale for the same. This moving meditation will help get oxygen and blood flow moving and melt the stress away.
4.     Write it down. Get that endless list of things to do out of your head and onto paper. Externalizing your thoughts will help clear your mind and allow you to be more focused and more peaceful at the same time. Grab a journal, a notebook, or open a word document and jot down tasks, feelings, and random thoughts that clutter your awareness.
5.     Practice connecting within. This is most important, because there’s really no substitute for knowing yourself and being willing to meet whatever is arising. There are no quick and easy answers, so we’ve got to be willing to grapple with and work through the thoughts and feelings that influence our moods. As we get to know our emotional contents and understand our potential triggers, we get to know that wise voice inside of us that guides us to the best and highest outcome.

How have you coped with the holidays? Please share your thoughts. Your comments make a difference for all of us.

For further information on accessing your wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last."


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