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Give Yourself the Gift of Mindfulness This Holiday Season

With nearly one-third of Americans describing holiday season as “frantic,” many are desperate to create more peace and tranquility around this time of year.

Mindfulness expert and author of “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos,” Julie Potiker shares tips anyone can use to make their holidays more enjoyable and less stressful this year.

3 Tips to Tap into Mindfulness and Save Your Holiday Spirit

Say no to over-commitment: “Mindfulness gives you an opportunity to become aware of how it makes your body feel when you’re overcommitted, running frantically from task to task or event to event. Next time you’re asked to take something on or attend another gathering, notice how you feel. Does your body feel relaxed and open? Or do you feel sensations like tightening of muscles, soreness in your back or neck, or even stomach discomfort? If your body is telling you ‘no,’ consider giving yourself a break on adding this new commitment right now if that is an option.”
Focus on Loving Kindness, not perfection: “We all get so wrapped up in things being perfect for the holidays. Focusing on simply doing things with love takes a lot of that stress away. Use Loving Kindness meditation to refocus your energies any time you need to, both towards others and for yourself!”
Try these Loving Kindness mantras and see how much more peaceful, loving, and open you feel toward yourself and others:

I am loved.
You are loved.

May I be safe.
May I be healthy.
May I live with ease.

May I live my life with ease.
May I be the best version of myself.
May I have patience.

May I be loved and appreciated.
May I be valued.
May I be kind.

May I accept myself just as I am.
May all beings be safe and free from suffering.

“Experiment with interchanging I, you, and we with these phrases. The results will speak for themselves.”

Take in the good: Julie Potiker’s mentor Rick Hanson created the HEAL method to completely serve anyone. “One of the best ways to rewire your brain for happiness this holiday season is to use mindfulness to purposefully install the best holiday experiences in your brain and have them override the more stressful ones. Try the H.E.A.L. method.”

H = Have a good experience.

E = Enrich it to install it.

A = Absorb it as if you are filling your body up with the good feeling of the experience.

L = Link positive and negative material.

“The optional last step — link — is about linking the positive experience with a memory of a negative experience to try to supplant the bad with the good. For example, take the most stressful moment you’ve experienced this holiday season, recall it during a wonderful moment, and allow the joy and happiness you are experiencing to soften and smooth over that harder moment.”

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