While the holidays can showcase the very best parts of an individual through demonstrations of charity, caring for others and connecting with loved ones, it may also bring out the very worst part of ourselves through feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and fear.
Now, I admit that stressful circumstance can’t be changed as immediately as we would like or be cured miraculously by a pill. However, what we can do is choose how we respond and relate to those feelings. We have the power within each and every one of us to take control of our mind and thoughts by focusing on the positives that surround the holidays like love, hope, gratitude, serenity and charity.
We can use the positive vibration of the holiday season to redirect our attention away from the voice of the ego (which is always complaining, comparing, defending, judging and criticizing), and instead reflect on the “blessings” of the past year, while looking forward to the blessings of the new year.
An easy way to begin this process is through meditation, which simply means relaxation of the mind. I have always found it amusing that if you take the first “t” in meditation and change it to a “c”; you arrive at the word “medication”. So think of meditation as the body’s own unique and most natural self-repair mechanism or “medication” that you can flip on or off with your own thoughts. Additionally, meditation has been scientifically proven to activate the relaxation response, and as a result, almost every health condition improves.
So, I challenge you to make a resolution this holiday season to use the energy of the season to be loving, hopeful and charitable by beginning with a little meditation.
Meditation for beginners:
Find a quiet location where you will not be distracted. This may be a room in your home, or it could be a quite spot outside by a river or in a garden.
Minimize disruptions by turning off the television, silence your phone or play soothing music if you like.
Sit in a comfortable, upright position, keeping your back straight, so you can breathe deeply with ease.
If you’re new to meditation, start with just five minutes per day and aim to work up to 20.
Close your eyes and clear your mind of distractions and mental clutter. One way of doing this is to acknowledge one by one, the things that are on your mind and putting them aside.
With eyes closed, take six to 10 long, deep belly breaths. Try to make your exhaled breaths as long as your inhaled breaths. This will create space in the body and quiet in the mind.
Focus on deep breathing, a single positive thought or an image that brings you peace.
If your thoughts wander during your meditation, let these distractions come and go naturally. Gently bring your attention back into focus. Over time, you will find it easier to focus your attention.
Liza Fischer is Office of Member and Family Affairs coordinator for Axis Health System. She can be reached at (970) 335-2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.