Learn to Relieve Stress and Enjoy the Precious Moments
The Austin Mindfulness Center is here to help. Through the use of mindfulness-based techniques, we can teach you how to let go of holiday stress and enjoy the holidays with a new found appreciation for all the joys to be experienced during this very special time of the year.
Let Go of Holiday Stress!
The holidays are here and you want everything to be perfect. With so much to do, and so little time, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by it all, specially as you try to live up to the idea of the 'perfect holidays.'
Holiday Stress is Real
The reality of the holidays is that we receive mix messages about the significance of this time of year. One one hand, the holidays are marketed as a time for family, friends, and joy. Yet, there is another pervasive message we receive that promotes the holidays as a time for gifts, shopping, and consuming. (Just pay attention to all the holiday-related ads and messages you receive about receiving or delivering the "perfect gift.")
As human beings trying to make sense of this, we can easily get bogged down by these seemingly mixed messages and place unnecessary demands on ourselves, or others.
The demands we place on ourselves, or others, are at the heart of our stress and suffering around the holidays.
Recent statistics related to holiday stress reveal that nearly 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time” and perceiving a “lack of money.” And over 50% are stressed about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”
But what if we could to talk to someone about these demands and receive useful guidance on how to let go of them?
What if we can learn to engage with this very special time of the year with a little less stress and a lot more patience, kindness, and acceptance toward ourselves, or others?
This is the promise of learning to practice mindfulness, specially during the holidays. At the heart of mindfulness, we are learning to let go of the things we deem worthy of letting-go, and becoming more accepting of the things that nourish and support us.
The miracle of letting-go, and letting-go into...
Letting-go and acceptance go hand-in-hand. When we let go, we always let go into something more wholesome. In other words, when we let go of these demands we place on ourselves about delivering the "perfect" dinner, gift, or gathering, we let go of our need to control the outcome, and let go into accepting that we are doing the very best we can under the circumstance. So, in essence, we let go of control and accept the inner peace this letting-go can potentially delivers us.
Here are a few of other reasons to learn to let go of the demands we place on ourselves, or others, during the holidays.
The opposite of letting-go is clinging, or holding-on. Maintaining a constant state of clinging or holding-on can generate many unhealthy physiological responses in the mind/body system (tension, headaches, irritation, anxiety, etc)
Letting-go of the demands we place on ourselves is essential for practicing self-compassion.
Letting-go is not the same as passive indifference. Letting-go of the demands we place on ourselves, or others, is a skillful response that values and appreciates the complexity of the human condition - especially around the holidays.
A Shift in Perspective
At the Austin Mindfulness Center, our highly-trained therapists can help you explore the many dimensions of unhealthy cognitive and behavior patterns. Though this exploration, you get to learn many new things about yourself, and the world around you. Most importantly, through the process of working with a therapist, you gain tools and skills that can assist you in having a little more agency, control, or command about the perspective you hold for yourself, and the world around. This shift in perspective can be transformational.
In the spirit of giving, here are a few more resources you can use to navigate the holiday stress.
Listen to our podcast: Mindfulness off the Cushion. In particular, listen to the episodes we recorded last year in December and January that discuss the holidays and the "Nine Essential Attitudes" of mindfulness?
Five mindful breaths - five times a day. All we are doing here is pausing, and dropping into the breath five times a day. It is really easy to get caught up in daily tasks, demands, and activities of the holidays. By pausing, dropping into the breath for five breaths, five times a day, we can begin to self-regulate our mind/body system in real meaningful ways. Give a try.
Listen to this free guided meditation recorded by Claudio called "Letting- Go"
Articles re: Holidays
You may listen to these audio tracks here or you can download them for free onto your mobile device to listen to anywhere, anytime. Feel free to share these tracks with your loved ones!
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