Just Breathe

Holiday Sanity: Just Breathe

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Right now is almost the time of year that can get incredibly stressful what with all the holiday parties, kids’ activities, work, bills, Christmas shopping, and so on.

I find myself getting caught up in the frenzy, too.

Often what goes along with this stress is bad eating habits and lack of exercise—which in turn just contributes to the stress! So the biggest question is, how do you calm the mind before the stress does some major damage to the body?

The answer: practice meditation.

I began to see the power of meditation in my life when I started a consistent yoga practice. I learned to quiet my mind and let go. Once I was able to do that, I knew I had to take it to the next level. The next step for me was to find the time to sit quietly each day.

Finding those extra minutes in a day can be difficult, but the benefits are immense. When I’m meditating, I feel centered. My soul feels nourished.  I also believe that when you are balanced, achieving this through diet, yoga and meditation, there’s a noticeable synchronicity. Things just begin to flow.

Have you ever noticed that if one bad thing happens to start your day off, and you start to focus on how much you have to do, or on fear about not having enough time or money, then the rest of your day becomes filled with more bad things? Like attracts like. So if you focus on the bad, you draw more bad into your life.

Here’s an example: Last Tuesday my day started with a lot of requests from people for things that required time and money. I started thinking of everything I needed to do that day, including finishing my Christmas shopping and working. In the midst of it, I had to do a juice delivery. Frazzled, I ran out of my house thinking I don’t have time for this! I went to grab the juices for delivery and backed into another car. It was my anxiety and lack of balance that created that situation.

When you meditate, that balance comes into focus. You attract good things and people into your life, and start to move toward your intentions. When you find yourself struggling, meditation can allow you to take a step back and gain perspective, and connect to your higher self.

You don’t need a lot of time to meditate; have fun with it. Think of it as a few minutes to go inward. I like to do it first thing in the morning to start my day out on the right foot. But during the day, between meetings, driving kids, or errands, just taking a moment to breathe can also have tremendous impact.

  1. Set a time that works for you. Maybe you start with a few minutes and over time build on it. A good tool is to set a timer.
  2. Find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted.
  3. Find a posture that works for you. Maybe you sit on a cushion or cross legs in lotus position. It’s important your keep spine straight, but find softness elsewhere in your body like your face, shoulders, arms, and hands.
  4. Close your eyes and find your breath. Maybe you start with a few deep inhales and exhales. Then let your natural breath take over.  Clear your mind. Try not to think of the things you have to do, or anything that worries you. When that gets challenging, breathe a little deeper. When something comes up, acknowledge it, and then clear it away.
  5. You may feel emotions coming up. Honor them, allow yourself to feel them, and then breathe through it.
  6. If you have to shift to be more comfortable, do so and settle into a better position.
  7. As you began your practice of meditation, remember it’s just like anything else: it’s a practice. Within the first moments, set an intention, and then let go and start the meditation. Or if I you’re working on something, ask for clarity. Then let go and be still. In those moments of stillness is where you will find the answers.
  8. Don’t worry if you fall off. Have compassion for yourself. If you miss a few days, weeks, or even months, know that it is always there for you.
  9. Once you have started to meditate you’ll find that you can do it almost anywhere. It can help you get through a traffic jam, a long line at the grocery store, or a challenging situation at work or with family.

I sincerely hope you give it a try. Letting go of stress helps cleanse your fears and the anxiety you may be holding onto and that may be holding you back. It’s a time to purify and restore yourself, which leads to a healthier, happier, and calmer you!