Here we are again heading into the holiday season filled with lights, yummy treats, gatherings of family and friends and cozy moments. But, let’s face it – holidays can also bring stress with so much being added to our “to do” lists. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, creating holidays that generate happy memories is all about mindset and pacing oneself. Meditation is a wonderful and effective tool for maintaining a positive/uplifting mindset, reducing stress, and clearing the mind to make those “to do” lists manageable. Just 15 minutes each day can help you stay focused and move through the holidays being present, feeling positive, and spreading that cheer to others. After all, isn’t that the point of the holidays – to move into the spirit of gratitude and giving? Below are two meditations that can be used through the holiday season to cultivate joy and kindness. Practicing these meditations for 15 minutes per day can reduce overwhelm and put you in the holiday spirit.
Meditation for Cultivating Joy
- Find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed that is comfortable. Place a glass of water within reach.
- Some individuals prefer quiet but you can also put on some meditation music of your choice. Make sure it is instrumental and does not have singing and words as that is distracting to the process.
- Sit in an upright position and place your hands “palms up” on your thighs. This naturally relaxes your shoulder muscles and opens you up to receiving. Close your eyes.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Control the breath as you let it out.
- Continue breathing long deep slow breaths for minimum 5 times.
- Pay attention to how you are feeling and make adjustments to get as comfortable as possible.
- Continue long deep slow breathing noticing your chest rising and falling, creating a rhythm.
- Turn your attention to your thoughts. If your mind is racing, remind yourself the time you are taking is generating energy to tackle that “to do” list joyfully.
- Think of a holiday memory from your past where you experienced joy. Focus on the details of that memory and watch it like a movie in your mind. If you don’t have a joyful holiday memory, then pick any happy memory or create a picture in your mind of how you want to add joy to your present holiday season. Stay with this visualization for a couple of minutes while continuing to breathe.
- Fully immerse yourself in the feelings associated with this positive memory and/or created picture. Think of ways to allow these uplifting/joyful feelings spill out to others.
- Inhale deeply, breathing in joy for yourself and exhaling/sending out joy into the world.
- Release that visual and take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Slowly open your eyes and come back to the present.
- Sit quietly, letting the energy you raised circulate and drink some water before getting up.
Meditation for Cultivating Kindness
Kindness is extending compassion and understanding towards another human being or creature; acting without expectation of reciprocity or recognition. Kindness is a beautiful complex quality based on values and healthy boundaries. Practicing kindness can improve capacity for empathy and compassion while generating uplifting feelings for oneself and others. Kindness is one of the most important qualities for making the world a better place.
- Find a comfortable, quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Set a glass of water close by and drink a small amount before beginning. Close your eyes and place your hands in a “palms up” position on your thighs. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Establish a rhythm with your breath.
- Begin to repeat the following phrases in your mind sending them to a person or persons:
1) May you feel loved
2) May you be healthy
3) May you experience abundance
4) May you be at peace
(You can also send these thoughts to pets, your community, or even to your country)
- Hold the person/people in your mind while breathing and repeating these phrases in your mind for 15 minutes until your timer goes off.
- Sit quietly and smile to yourself at the kindness you have sent to others.
- Slowly open your eyes and come back to the present and drink the rest of the water in your glass.
Each time you practice this meditation, you can change the recipient or keep the same one. In addition, you can send the kindness to yourself, if you are in need of it. Practicing this meditation can open up your heart chakra, lifting you up in the process of lifting others up. Suddenly, your holiday experience becomes richer in spirit creating a sense of well-being for yourself and others.
Radiating Holiday Spirit
These meditations serve as powerful tools to center yourself amidst the holiday rush and help you rediscover and tune into the true essence of the season. Fostering feelings of gratitude, joy, and kindness moves you into a headspace where you are radiating holiday spirit from within. You become a creator of holiday magic, watching it all unfold from within and around you. This kind of energy is contagious! May you be richly blessed this holiday season and continue to let the light in your heart, guide your way on!