Stop scrolling: These 1-minute meditations will ease your holiday stress


Managing holiday stress seems almost impossible, but I have a solution for you: meditation. Between family dinners with in-laws who like to argue, long lines while holiday shopping, or dealing with inevitable travel delays, the holidays can feel like the most stressful time of the year. In a perfect world, we'd all like to maintain our normal, healthy routines during these months, but sometimes that's just not possible. So instead of putting pressure on yourself to do everything, stop, breathe, and find small moments throughout your day to give yourself some self-love with a simple and quick meditation.

Meditation is an amazing way to stay calm during stressful moments of the season because it can be done almost anywhere and for any period of time. No prior knowledge or experience is required to get started. As a breathing exercise facilitator and die-hard meditation fan, here are five meditations I regularly use to navigate the holidays with ease and joy.

1. The Starbucks Line Meditation

If there's one place where it's easy to succumb to anger and stress, it's a Starbucks line: You've been waiting a while, your to-do list is far from over, and the clock is ticking away Flight. Instead, turn the dreaded wait into a short meditation Suze Yalof Schwartz from her book Unplug.

length: However long it takes to receive your coffee order

Practice: As you stand in line, start by looking at your feet and notice how they feel on the floor. Allow them to truly connect with the ground beneath you. Then, very slowly, as the line moves, lift one foot and place it heel first on the floor in front of you. Continue with the other foot in the same slow motion. As you do this, notice how your body moves, how your ankle allows your foot to rotate, and how your legs work together with your feet. Continue in slow motion, taking your time until you reach the barista. Once there, look your barista in the eye, smile at him, and then place your order. Nine times out of ten they smile back; A smile always goes a long way. After you order, continue the slow and careful movements to wait for your coffee. Once you arrive, pick up your coffee and feel the warmth of the cup, bring it to your face and inhale the smell before taking a slow sip and letting the taste absorb into your mouth. In this way, your coffee line became an easy reset.

Do you feel like you never have time for mediation? You don't actually need 20 minutes, 10 minutes or even one. Instead, try this 16-second meditation whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or worried. This meditation by renowned spiritual teacher Davidji is perfect for escaping a stressful situation and allowing yourself a moment of calm.

length: 16 seconds

Practice: First, think about something that bothered you this week. Maybe you missed your flight, lost your wallet, or spilled coffee on your favorite shirt (whatever is the first thing that comes to mind!). Once you have it, close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose. Notice how the breath travels up to your stomach. Let it rest for a moment before breathing out again through your body and through your nose. Watch the breath escape again and pause when it is released. Now you can return to your normal breathing. That was 16 seconds! If you participated during those 16 seconds, you weren't thinking about the past or the future, you were just living in the moment. You most likely haven't even thought about what's been bothering you this week. You were fully present. In just 16 seconds you can banish stress.

3. The traffic meditation

While some of us get road raged, others simply feel triggered by additional inconvenience at a busy time of year. Suze Yalof Schwartz created this brilliant meditation for those moments when you're feeling anxious while sitting in traffic. Pro Tip: Although this meditation was originally intended for car rides, it's also great for delayed flights. Consider this meditation the perfect stress reliever for things that are out of your control.

length: 1-3 minutes

Practice: The first step is awareness. First, look at the road and the cars in front of you. Register your surroundings and how you feel. Maybe there's no movement, or you're late, stressed, annoyed, or feel like screaming. No matter how you feel, become aware of everything. The next step is to perform a body scan. Start with your feet and pay attention to how they feel, then your ankles, legs, and stomach. Continue until you have registered every part of your body up to the top of your head. The final step is to connect with your breath. First breathe in through your nose four times, let the breath go into your stomach, hold it there four times, then let it out four times and finally hold it four more times. Repeat this breath a few times until you feel your body relax. Now open your eyes and repeat the phrase “It is what it is” three times. Even though the traffic is still there, hopefully your excitement has passed.

Practicing gratitude is always important, but it's especially important during the holiday season, when it can be easy to lose track and let holiday triggers or a busy schedule take over. This gratitude meditation from Deepak Chopra will bring you back to awareness.

length: 5 minutes

Practice: Start by finding a quiet place where you can be alone (even your car or a bathroom will do). First, close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose down to your stomach. Hold it there for a moment before expelling it through your mouth. Pause, then continue breathing a few more times until you feel more connected and centered. Now focus on your heart, feel it beating, and maybe even place your hands over it if you want. Ask yourself, “What are you grateful for?” Allow whatever comes to mind and then let the question go. “What are you grateful for?” Let your mind fill with images, words, or people that capture that. Now say to yourself in your head, “Whatever happens today, I will not judge.” Repeat the phrase a few times. Finally, slowly move your hands and feet, open your eyes and return to your body.

It's a long season of delicious desserts, delicious wine and turkey dinners. Sometimes it's hard to say no to everything that makes us overeat and not feel good, or sometimes we feel guilty when we do want to treat ourselves and enjoy the food that the season has to offer has. This meditation from Amanda Gilbert is designed to help you eat mindfully all season long.

Length: 1-5 minutes

Practice: Begin by taking a few breaths to center yourself and connect with your body before you begin. This meditation should be done with food. So when you're ready, take a moment to look at the food in front of you. Take in the colors, the smells and the shapes. Now you can pick up the food and ask yourself how you feel before taking a bite. Are you really hungry? Moderate hunger? Once you know, take the first bite and let the flavors explode in your mouth, chew slowly and take your time before swallowing. How do you feel now? Are you less hungry? Did you like the first bite? Repeat this exercise with the next bite, etc. Take in every piece of food and remember to eat slowly and mindfully. When you've eaten your last bite, sit for a moment and enjoy the food that filled you up. Not too crowded but completely satisfied.

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