Holidays can be a warm and wonderful time for entertaining, socializing and making happy memories with family and friends. But the pressure of preparing elaborate meals, traveling and shopping for dozens of gifts can make us feel more stressed-out than joyful. Luckily, the solution to this problem is within anyone’s reach.
“Just a few minutes of meditation, or even simply focused breathing can make a huge difference in how we handle the inevitable situations that will arise this holiday season to trigger stress,” Israeli meditation expert Doron Libshtein tells From The Grapevine. Libshtein – who splits his time between Israel and California – has helped Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey and is the founder of the Mentors Channel.
“While many people think that meditation is too challenging a practice to master, the truth of the matter is anyone can successfully meditate,” he says. “You do not need any special skills because there is no right or wrong way to meditate. And those who think you must fully clear your mind to achieve a meditative state are not correct. The only thing you need to do is commit to devoting just a few minutes once or twice a day to this practice,” and a quiet place to do it in, “to eliminate as much distraction as possible.”
He shares the following simple tips to help you maintain a clear and calm head as you tackle the holiday season.
1. Set aside time daily.
For beginners, start by trying to set aside 10 minutes a day, which you can split into two segments – five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night. The amount of time is not as important as simply doing it regularly. You can always increase the amount of time as you become more proficient with your practice. Many say that 20 minutes in the morning and at night is ideal. Regardless, it’s been shown that the best time to meditate is first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed at night. You can sit in a chair or lie down, whichever feels most comfortable.
2. Focus on your breath.
Your breath is the most important tool for stress reduction. Try using four counts on your inhale and eight counts on your exhale. Your breath should not be forced or strained in any way, so don’t be concerned if it takes you some time to work up to eight counts. Just know that lengthening the exhale will significantly help calm you down.
3. Don’t worry about your mind wandering.
It’s completely normal for the mind to wander when counting your breathing or even throughout the meditation process. This is completely natural. However, when you notice this happening, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
4. Use a mantra.
While not mandatory, a mantra (like one of your personal affirmations, i.e. “I am loved” or “I am at peace,” or a more popular mantra like “om” or “om shanti”) can give you something to focus on while you meditate. Just repeat your mantra on both the inhale and exhale. If you prefer not to use a mantra, it is perfectly OK.
5. Try guided meditation.
You may be one of the many people who prefer to meditate when someone else guides you on the meditation journey. The Mentors Channel provides a host of guided meditations and resources for those who prefer it.
6. Seek out tools to monitor your stress levels.
Try a wearable gadget like the WellBe, the first bracelet that measures your stress and emotional wellness in both the short and long term. The bracelet monitors who and what activities in your life trigger emotional stress, gives notifications when stress levels rise and provides real-time solutions in the form of meditation, focused breathing and mindful exercises.
“We are all capable of incorporating meditation into our daily routine to make us happier, calmer and more able to take on life’s many challenges,” Libshtein says. “In fact, meditation can provide you with valuable insights that can help change your life in many ways including reducing stress, achieving more focus, productivity and joy.”
Sounds to us like a winning holiday combination.