During the holiday season time moves at lightning speed. It can feel like we have less time, more events to show up for, and more deadlines (“get it done by Christmas” sound familiar?) We start moving fast because we sense that time is in short supply.
We can accidentally get hopped up on adrenaline when we’re racing against deadlines, zipping around doing errands, flitting from online sale to online sale, and flying from party to party. (Side note: Ever notice how large, busy shops play fast music? It’s no accident. Fast music has been proven to boost sales.)
But that velocity can make us feel reactive and keep us from being fully present and making decisions in line with our highest good. When we’re caught up in speed and reactivity, we might find ourselves buying things we don’t need, saying things we don’t mean, and eating or drinking more than we normally would.
The good news is that when we become conscious of this speedy, reactive energy, we can balance it and sidestep the traps of overindulgence, conflict, and drama that can be the hallmarks of the holidays.
Something as simple as taking a few breaths before you make a purchase, eat a meal, have another drink, or even engage in a tense conversation with a family member can help soothe the nervous system so that we can make more conscious choices around what we buy, eat, drink and say.
Try this simple breathing practice to help slow your roll and be more conscious this silly season.It can be done anywhere, anytime with the eyes open or closed, and calms the mind and the nervous system in a matter of minutes. It’s called square breathing or box breathing because it has four equal parts. You simply inhale, hold the breath in, exhale, hold the breath out all in equal measures:
1. Inhale through the nose to a count of 4.
2. Hold the breath in for a count of 4.
3. Exhale through the nose 4.
4. Hold the breath out for a count of 4.
Repeat for 1-2 minutes and you'll relax your system and calm your mind. It's a simple but powerful tool to have up your sleeve!
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When you’re tempted to make a financial or caloric splurge - or tell your aunt what you really think- remember… stop, breathe and be merry, merry mindful this year!