It's the most stressful time of the year: the holidays! I don't mean to be a Debbie downer, but come on — everyone knows that the joy of the holiday season is almost always accompanied by copious amounts of tension as you scramble to get everything done (and make sure everyone gets along). That's why it might be useful to have a couple of meditations for holiday stress in your back pocket for when anxiety runs especially high throughout the festive season.
BTW, if you think it's just me who's being a Grinch, get this: Simple Habit, a mindfulness and mental wellness platform, recently surveyed nearly 3,000 of its users about the holidays, and according to the results, which were shared directly with Elite Daily over email, 72 percent of people said they feel stressed out during this time of year. Yikes. But also, same.
Fortunately, meditation can be an effective way to combat stress, and it's accessible any time, anywhere. "Meditation is a powerful tool to have in our holiday stress-busting toolbox," Christine Agro, spiritual teacher and best-selling author of the book Awaken & Grow, tells Elite Daily over email. But for many people, she explains, they feel like it's too complicated, or that it has to mean sitting cross-legged on the floor. Plus, what does "quieting the mind" really mean anyway?
According to Agro, it's far too easy to can caught up in your mind, wondering if you're are doing meditation "right," when all you really need to do is remind yourself that the fact that you're being proactive in taking care of your mental health is revolutionary in and of itself. "There is no right or wrong here," she explains. "The important thing is to notice how you are feeling and focus your attention on yourself."
There are many forms and styles of meditation, so feel free to experiment and figure out what's right for you, but if you want somewhere to start, here are two of Agro's favorites that can help support you this holiday season.
For Centering and Grounding
Sit in your chair (whether it be on a plane, train, or at the dinner table). Then, close your eyes and take a breath in. "This connects your mind and your body," says Agro. "You don’t even have to close your eyes, but this practice can be easier at first if you do."
Next, place your attention on the soles of your feet, and feel connected to the floor or the ground. "Intend, pretend, or visualize a line moving from the base of your tailbone straight up through the center of your spine all the way to the top of your head," the spiritual teacher explains.
Finish the practice by saying "I am centered and aligned" either in your mind or aloud.
For Releasing Stress, Anxiety, And/Or Tension
"For this meditation, you can be seated or not, and you can have your eyes open or closed," Agro tells Elite Daily." Start by taking several slow, deep breaths. As you breathe in, the teacher recommends focusing on gathering up whatever energy you don’t want — frustration, anxiety, defeat, annoyance, etc. — and as you exhale, she says, "breathe out the energy you have gathered up," instructs Agro. "When you feel ready, pause and let your breath return to normal. Return to slow, deep breaths only."
Next, switch to breathing in what you do want, says Agro. For example, she suggests, breathe in peace, love, joy, balance — whatever comes to mind in that moment. "Again, return to your normal breath and continue on with your day," she says.
By taking these moments to focus on yourself, Agro explains, you can connect more deeply to what truly serves you, and recognize what doesn't, so you can rid yourself of the excess noise. "These [meditations] help you tune in and shift your experience anywhere, any time," she tells Elite Daily, "regardless of where you are or who you are with."