OMG! Wasn’t it just Fourth of July? But now the leaves are all over the yard and the pumpkin is rotting on the front porch. The holidays are here again.
The holiday season can be a mixed bag for many people. It is a time to focus on the things that are really important – family, friends and the multitude of blessing we enjoy. But it can also be stressful and exhausting, with busy schedules, entertaining, shopping, dealing with holiday-crazed crowds and drivers, and expending endless willpower trying not to blow that diet by completely overindulging in eating and drinking.
During this special season it is more important than ever to take advantage of the remarkable powers and benefits of conscious, intentional use of your breath. It is your secret weapon for minimizing the stress of the holidays while maximizing your enjoyment.
Using your breath can help you create happier holidays in several ways:
1) It is a great stress reliever
Conscious breathing is the most powerful weapon you have to de-stress any situation. A few deep breaths can keep you from going postal when you get cut off in traffic or you arrive at the store to find that someone else just grabbed the last toy that your kid has to have. Your breath is a chill-pill that is always available and the effects are immediate.
2) It keeps you in the moment
The reason that breathing techniques are used by performers, athletes and most spiritual traditions, is that it keeps you in the here and now. It keeps you from worrying about the dinner you have to cook next week or reliving the debacle last year when your dog pulled the turkey onto the floor. It grounds you and allows you to enjoy the moment and the things that are truly important about the holidays.
3) It keeps you healthy
The combination of holiday stress with he onset of cold and flu season can have unpleasant results. Having to slog through it all battling a cold or flu can dampen anyone’s holiday spirit. A daily dose of conscious breathing practice will strengthen your immune system and make you more resistant to colds and flus. It also accelerates the healing process if you do catch one of those nasty winter bugs.
How to breathe your way through the holidays
It is a simple prescription. Spend just 5 minutes practicing our Six Second Breath exercise every day, and find a way to remind yourself to take 2-3 slow deep breaths as many times a day as you can. It helps to use reminders – an hourly nudge in your phone, a note on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door, or perhaps every time you hear a Christmas song?
Give yourself this powerful present this season and see how it will make you happier and healthier all year long!
[Photo courtesy of Martha Chapa]