How do you handle holiday stress? Do you skip exercising to make time to buy just one more gift? Do you double up on the coffee in the morning and the red wine in the evening just to get through your day? There is plenty of data to suggest that a just a few minutes of daily meditation will help you better manage the stress of the holidays and any other challenges you may be facing at this, the most wonderful time of the year!
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, originally to help practitioners understand more deeply the sacred and mystical aspects of life. Today, folks also focus on studies showing its ability to help decrease anxiety and depression and to improve concentration and attention. According to Forbes magazine, after only a couple of weeks of mediation training, people taking the verbal reasoning section of the GRE scored an average of 16 points higher than others taking the test.
Psychology Today says that Mindful Meditation helps us become more aware of what is happening and helps us to be more at peace with every moment, regardless of what is happening in it. Last year, in the middle of a renovation and before a scheduled surgery, I started meditating. A few weeks after the procedure, which wasn’t cosmetic, by the way, several people told me I looked better than I had in ages. Despite what should have been an extremely stressful time, I felt rested and more at peace because of the meditation I had practiced.
The list of successful people who credit daily mediation practice with much of their life’s achievements includes Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Rupurt Murdoch and Ellen DeGeneres. Ray Dalio, billionaire and founder of world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, said, "Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I've had."
So what do you need to meditate? Most practices recommend a quiet place, a few spare minutes and an open mind. A friend of mine recommends Calm.com, an app that offers a series of meditations from which to choose and a selection of relaxing pictures and background noises (think crashing waves, rain, etc.) and lessons for even the greenest of beginners. I encourage you to investigate different types of mediation for your health, for your peace of mind and most certainly to enjoy more of the spirit of the holiday season rather than get swallowed up in the stress of it.
Now before you head on over to check out the latest Facebook posts, take a deep breath in…and then out…. and then in again. And relax!
Stacy Geant Hughes, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Pink Ribbon Program specializing in post breast cancer surgery rehabilitation, Owner of Core Value Pilates, LLC in Ridgewood, NJ , (201) 638-0245