Christmas, in theory a time of peace on earth, is often a frenetic rush to achieve. End of year work deadlines, social events, school productions; lists of presents, decorations and food; relationship stress and money worries – often stretch even the best prioritisation and time-management systems.
One tool to help us through this is a daily 10-15 minute practice of meditation. This practice comes in many forms, but at its core is the intention to bring peace to the mind and body, and increase consciousness and awareness.
Research has shown that among the benefits of a regular meditation practice are:
– a reduction in stress and anxiety
– increased clarity of thought and less mental clutter
– increased mental and emotional resilience
– improved sleep.
Basic mindfulness meditation
- Sit comfortably. No special posture required, just stay relaxed but alert, with your spine straight.
- Feel your breath. Choose a point where you feel your breath – through your nose, belly, or chest. Gently focus your attention on the in-breath and the out-breath flowing through you.
- Return to the breath. You will get distracted. This is how it works. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t think you’ve got it wrong, don’t make it into a big deal. You haven’t – this is the process: focus on the breath, get distracted, gently come back to the breath. It’s an active process of training your mind – beginning again and again is the actual practice, not a problem to be overcome.
It can be useful to start with five minutes a day and gradually build the time up if and when you are ready. Regularity is more important than duration. Even a short daily meditation practice will increase your focus and allow you to be more productive with the time you have – and help you stay calm during the crazy season.