The festive season can be stressful at the best of times. This year we’ve all got the added stress and pressure of a global pandemic to contend with as well. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but now could be the perfect time to cultivate a mindfulness habit. Mindfulness is not the absence of thought, as many people believe. Rather, it is the process of training your mind to focus on the present moment – what is here now.
When you focus on the present moment, you take away any power you might be giving to the future or the past. You can’t worry about what’s coming or lament what has been when you are fully present. This doesn’t mean we never take time out to cherish our amazing memories or that we refuse to set goals for the future, it simply means that we spend the majority of our time in the here and now.
Let’s start with a simple, short exercise designed to bring awareness to your body, mind and emotions. Find a comfy seat either in a chair with a back or on a cushion on the floor. Read the instructions in the graphic and try to stick to the six minutes.
I recommend journaling afterward. And reflecting on these questions:
1. What did it feel like to really answer the question “how am I doing?” To myself?
2. If I struggled to just be in the space with myself, why?
3. Was it more difficult to pay attention to my emotional self or my physical self? Why?
I like to finish this practice with this affirmation: I am worthy of time and deserving of love.
Another quick mindfulness exercise to help kickstart your habit is to pay attention to your surroundings and simply notice what’s going on. Release any judgment or curiosity you have about what you’re experiencing and just experience it.
What is that like? To simply be in the moment and not to place any import onto it? To hear and to listen without ascribing meaning? Continue this practice each day and gradually build up the time to 10 or 15 minutes. It just might be the best gift you receive this holiday season.