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5 ways to be mindful this holiday season

Finding your inner peace is easier than you think.

While the holidays bring the joy of spending time with family and friends, attending parties, and shopping for coveted gifts, it’s not always fun and games.

If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves stressed, exhausted and burned out from managing packed calendars, looming deadlines, and high expectations.

So how can you enjoy the holiday season and not get caught up in the chaos? Remember that peace starts with you.

When you practice being mindful and present, you can navigate the holiday season with ease and grace.

When you know how to tap into your own inner peace, you won’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of what the season “appears” to be about. You’ll stay connected to what truly matters to you.

Here are 5 ways to be mindful and cultivate a sense of peace this holiday season:

  1. Stop, drop, and meditate. If you don’t have a meditation practice yet, now is a great time to start. All you need is 5 minutes and a quiet space or headphones. Use a meditation app like Headspace or listen to calming music and close your eyes.

  1. Press the “pause” button. When you notice your stress level rising, take a moment to close your eyes and press the imaginary “pause” button. This simple action of taking a pause creates space between you and your reaction. Within the pause, you become aware of your feelings and can decide how you choose to respond.

  1. Take a walk outside. A breath of fresh air can be the respite you need from any stressful situation — even better if you can find that fresh air in nature. Walking in nature has been shown to help us feel more attentive and happier. So seek out your favorite spot and pay it a visit during the holidays.

  1. Take a deep breath. Deep breathing works by triggering our parasympathetic nervous system and eliciting a sense of calm. One simple exercise you can do is to inhale for six long, slow counts, and exhale for the same. Try increasing the count by one each time you take a breath. Continue until you start feeling the stress subside.

  1. Find something to be grateful for. In any moment, there is always something to be grateful for, whether it’s your health, your family, or simply that you’re here now. The act of practicing gratitude has been shown to increase well-being and life satisfaction. Keep a gratitude journal with you and write down something you’re grateful for everyday.

These simple, easy to access resources can help you be mindful and find peace in any time, any place. So when the pressures of the holidays start mounting, remember that the peace you seek is already within you.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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