Christmas is coming. There is excitement and magic in the air.
I’m sure you want to enjoy the festive season this year with friends and family
but not get too swept up and lost in the madness and the shopping!
12 Days of Mindfulness at Christmas
That can happen. Then, our actions become ‘mindless’ reactions – we overdo the decorations, presents, food, parties because we mistake the illusion of Christmas for what really matters. We all want the sharing, the caring. We want to experience the warmth, fun and celebration at Christmastime but it’s easy to overdo it. We can focus our energy in all the wrong places and then it turns out quite differently… tension, strained relationships, family fights, sadness and loneliness.
So, how can we avoid the pitfalls and make the most of whatever we have? And, what about the people who are not excited or looking forward to the next few weeks. Maybe you are alone, or have lost someone dear, or you are unwell or dealing with a challenge – is there any help out there, any comfort, at all?
Simplicity is the answer – 12 Days of Mindfulness at Christmas
Whoever you are and whatever your story, ‘mindfulness’ or your capacity to be aware, right here and now means you stay with yourself and your experience as it unfolds, moment by moment with kindness, curiosity, openness and acceptance. So, instead of ‘having your buttons pushed’ and ‘reacting’ unconsciously to ongoing events, circumstances and other people, you stay open and curious.
Perceiving with all of our senses (really looking, listening, feeling, smelling, tasting) takes our attention out of the stream of thinking (so we don’t get ‘lost’ in the story of what ‘must’ be done for instance) and we see reality as it is with lots of choices. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, we deal with what is happening and our ‘presence’ (fully here) means we respond effectively and appreciate more fully.
When we are mindful we slow down and see the bigger picture. We realise that each moment (not just the moments on 25 December) is precious and an opportunity to re-write patterns and habits that are no longer serving us. We choose to re-engage with living, savouring the ordinary stuff like good company, loving relationships, delicious food, fun, laughter, music.
Research supports – 12 Days of Mindfulness at Christmas
Research has shown that it is less ‘the event’ that makes us happy – than what we bring to it. So, when we get caught up in ‘rushing around’, ‘doing too much’, ‘getting anxious about having everything being just so’, we become stressed and unable to relax and enjoy ourselves.
However, when we allow some space to replenish ourselves, we increase activity in the parts of our brain associated with positive emotion, joy, a sense of enthusiasm and decrease the activity in the areas associated with depression, rumination, excessive self concern as well as fear and anger.
Consciously choose happiness – 12 Days of Mindfulness at Christmas
You can consciously choose to make some space to cultivate awareness or mindfulness even if you have real difficulties to deal with. Mindfulness can help you to:
- Stop and settle
- Focus on what matters
- Make some skilful choices
- Manage anxiety, stress, loss and fears
- Deal compassionately with self and others
- Come to your senses
- Move your body
- Enjoy silence
- Give generously
- Appreciate fully
- Bring it back to self
- Savour moment by moment (This will be our daily themes)
12 Days of Mindfulness at Christmas – Tips & Audio Clips
Everyday from now until Christmas, a free daily Mindfulness Tip and Clip will be uploaded here. You can read the short tip and listen to the guided meditation. So please, Kickstart your Mindful Christmas by joining me on this free journey, starting from Monday December 9th.
I hope to share this season of peace and goodwill with you!
This article by written by Joanne O’Malley, founder of Mindfulness at Work, set up in response to people’s need for an antidote to stress and a way of living fuller, more alive, wholehearted and balanced lives. More info: www.mindfulnessatwork.ie firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel 087 961 5901
See original article in the Journal here