Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moments of Meditation to Help You Survive the Holidays

I don't know about you, but the holidays are overwhelming me this year.  I just feel like I'm never going to catch up!

I've been a huge fan of Yoga and Meditation for years.  I just love that feeling of peacefulness after.  Unfortunately these days I just don't have the time to catch a Yoga class or sit down for a meditation session as much as I would like. 

Jeff Cannon author of The Simple Truth has put together the below guest post just for OC Mom Activities readers to help us make use of those spare moments in your day to center and ground yourself everyday during the craziness that is the holidays!

Moments of Meditation for the HolidaysThe Holidays are a time of joy and fun.  It’s a time for family and friends, holiday parties and of course the shopping.  But it can all get a little overwhelming no matter how much you enjoy them.  It’s why sprinkling your Holidays with a bit of meditation can be a good thing for you, and those around you.  Don’t worry you don’t have to set aside a half hour of solitude to enjoy the benefits of meditation.  You just have to take a breather from time to time as a way to maintain your equilibrium and enjoy the holidays the way YOU want to.
Here are five easy tips to do just that:

Breathe Deep

The key to real, ongoing relaxation is found in your breath.  It can calm you, lower your blood pressure, reduce your anxiety and keep you grounded no matter how quickly your world is spinning.  If you feel agitated, draw a full breath slowly into your stomach.  Feel your stomach expand for a slow count to eight.  Hold it for a count to two and slowly exhale it for another count to eight. Feel the air enter and then leave your body and focus on the sensation of your breath.  Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself when you first feel yourself start to spin.  Call it a mini-meditation and enjoy the calm it brings. 

Morning Meditation
There is no better time to set the pace of your day than when you first wake up.  Before you get out of bed in the morning, take a few minutes to notice your breathing. Put one hand on your stomach and take a few deep belly breaths.  Smile, as you feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath.  Don’t just jump into your day, give yourself the two minutes you deserve to balance your morning, steady your thoughts and guide your day in the right direction. 

Shopping Break Meditation
When your wits are at their end take a moment to sit by yourself.  Place your feet flat on the floor with your hands on your thighs.  Take a deep belly breath in, and feel your skin expand against your clothing.  Slowly count to eight on each inhale and each exhale.  Feel the calm start beneath you scalp and move down to your shoulders.  Identify each point of stress and take a moment to allow your inhale to wrap around it, relax it, and take that stress away as you exhale.  Use your three minutes to breathe in positive, relaxing energy, and breathe out negative stress. 
 
Mindful Eating

This is a path to power over your food and your stress.  Instead of just jumping in and trying to finish your meal before you’ve even started, take a moment.  Become aware of the food before you.  Notice the shape, color and texture of it.  Become attuned to your body, the way you salivate, the way you anticipate enjoying it.  Notice the taste, the texture, and the different sensations you feel when you eat.  Take the time to look around and become aware of the service around you.  Notice the place setting, the staff and the décor.  Appreciate and enjoy what you have before you rush back into your day.

Don’t Lose Yourself
During the Holidays family, friends and work associates want to rejoice and celebrate.  It’s what the holidays are all about.  Just don’t forget that you also need to spend time rejoice and celebrate your own self.  It may sound silly, but don’t feel like you have to do everything at your own expense.  Schedule time out for a quiet cup of tea to reflect on last year and think about the new one.  Make sure you schedule time to connect with yourself so that you don’t lose the most important person in your life to the Holiday shuffle.

Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a fun and joyous time.  If you ever feel they aren’t, STOP, BREATHE, and BALANCE yourself to enjoy the love of the seasons.

More about Jeff: 
He was a fast-track entrepreneur with a portfolio of successful businesses, who had published two books with McGraw Hill, produced documentaries and ran his own public relations agency.  Then it all came to a crashing halt at the end of 2009.  One day, he woke up on a hospital bed recovering from a ten hour surgery that removed six of seven brain tumors on his parietal lobe.

Jeff spent the next four months watching his brain reboot itself.  From dreams filled with unmoving black and white textures, to waking up to vivid flashes of memories, he witnessed his senses, and his body slowly came back on line.  A long time devotee to martial arts and yoga, he spent the next year applying his knowledge of Western science and Eastern philosophies to his recovery and his health.  He learned firsthand how the brain is hard wired just as it had been 40,000 years ago.  More important he learned how it could be reprogrammed through such practices as meditation and mindfulness.

Today he still has one tumor in his head that has miraculously stopped growing since his new beginning.  He now works with individuals and groups with a process of personal evolution he calls the Simple Truth.  His mission is to empower, enable, and ensure others live their own Simple Truth through the lessons he learned.

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