The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but according to the American Psychological Association, almost 40% of Americans also feel it’s one of the most stressful. Gift shopping, crowds, cooking and cleaning; the pressure to enjoy a perfect holiday can take its toll on even the most festive.
Described as an awareness and active attention to the present moment, mindfulness can be an effective way to reduce some of the stress in your holidays, and in your life everyday. In a University of Maryland Extension publication, FCS educator Dhruti Patel, provides simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into our everyday lives to reduce stress.
- Meditation: Practicing mindfulness is at the heart of meditation, encouraging you to focus on the present moment rather than ruminate on the past or worry about the future.
- Breathing: Pay attention to your breathing patterns, especially when in an overwhelming or stressful situation, not only when meditating or exercising.
- Physical activity: Incorporate stretching, walking or yoga into your daily routine.
- Play: Interacting with a child or pet can help bring you into the moment, without focus on past or present.
- Be creative: Mindfulness is associated with creative endeavors like art, coloring, Zentangle, and journaling.
Cultivating mindfulness can take some practice, but can be incorporated into any task, from brushing your teeth to reading a book. Mindfulness can not only provide you with a peace of mind (not just during the holidays!) but can even improve your physical health by boosting the immune system, managing pain and chronic diseases, implementing healthier habits and improving brain function.
Learn more about stress and your health at https://extension.umd.edu/learn/publications/stress-and-health.