Want a less stressful holiday season? Explore the use of meditation.

A recent article describes psychologist, Daniel Goleman’s description of the many benefits of using mediation.  Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence” describes meditation as a “daily workout for the brain”. His most recent book is “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body.”

Here are some of his key ideas and suggestions for a less hassled holiday season:

  • All types of meditation retrain your attention. He calls mediation the basic mental-fitness exercise in that it stops your mind from wandering. As attention improves, he says concentration, memory and learning also improve. In addition, he identifies benefits to emotions. For example, “people react less strongly to things that use to upset them, and they recover more quickly when they do get upset”.
  • There are benefits from short sessions in which you focus on breathing in a quiet, non-distracting place. During a 10-minute session focus on your breathing and refocus if your mind wanders.
  • Take it easy. Don’t judge yourself or be frustrated. You are learning a process and you may need some practice.
  • Use flashcards throughout the day. Write troubling thoughts on one side and counter these thoughts by writing an argument to those thoughts. Keep a focus on the positive or productive aspects of your life. Remember the love from others.
  • Accept that all of us have times when you feel your mind is out of control. Be aware that you can impose limits and change your thoughts through meditation.

In summary, meditation helps reduce stress and is simple, inexpensive, and doesn’t require any special equipment. Here’s a great “how to” article from the Mayo Clinic.

Decide the ways in which you can most easily learn or start to meditate.  There are several options.  Here are examples and ideas:

  1. For some people it’s easier to meditate by joining a group where there is instruction and guidance and group energy and focus.
  2. You may have a friend who would like to learn also.  Arrange a quiet time or to explore types of meditation together.
  3. Going it alone is difficult if you have no prior experience, but self-help options are available in audio (guided meditations) and instructions.  There are also free apps.  Consider whether you’re more apt to take the time inside or in a natural, outdoor setting? Start with just 10-minutes and increase as you acclimate to the process.

Using meditation, you can clear the information overload and stresses that are bombarding you during the holiday season. Remember, when you decrease stress, you increase your ability to pay attention, fight off distraction, and be productive—even during frantic holiday times.

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