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Mindfulness through the Christmas season: tips for a relaxed atmosphere

Mindfulness through the Christmas season: tips for a relaxed atmosphere

Do you also think a lot about what's coming and what you still have to do? Do you concentrate far too little on what you are doing at the moment and life is just passing you by instead of living consciously? Especially in the Christmas season it becomes stressful for many and the anticipation is neglected. In this article you will learn why you should be more careful now and what advantages you can get from it for yourself.

Are you ready for X-Mas? No? Actually, as is so often the case, you had decided to do better next year and to get all the presents on time. Full shopping streets and overcrowded shops only give you headaches and a bad mood. Enjoy the Christmas season? Nothing. So that you don't lose your nerve in the pre-Christmas stress and can enjoy the time relaxed, try to be more mindful.

 

What is mindfulness

Mindfulness means that you are very consciously aware of your inner being and what is happening around you. Far too often in everyday stress we don't even notice how time flies by, so that we ask ourselves at the end of the week. What did I actually do? What did I experience and how did I feel about it? We always want to be productive, to achieve as much as possible and not even notice what is going on in our environment.

It is often the case that we unconsciously just play through our habits and routines day after day - over and over again. We are not really aware of what we are doing. When was the last time you really enjoyed your cup of coffee or hot tea in the morning? When was the last time you really felt the taste and the cozy warmth on your tongue and looked out the window and saw the raindrops slide down the window? Instead, you might be in a hurry because you couldn't get out of bed again, want to tip your cup in so quickly, burn your tongue and then get annoyed about it.

Mindfulness therefore means that you consciously take your time to be aware of your own feelings, patterns of thought and action as well as to observe your surroundings and capture sensory impressions. If you are mindful, you live the present moment and are completely with you, without being dreamily shielded from the outside world. Mindfulness is also attention and takes in things in life and the inside in a relaxed manner, just as the circumstances are. At the same time, it means not judging or evaluating the moment - neither in a negative nor in a positive sense.

 

Where does mindfulness come from?

Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhism and a long tradition. As already mentioned in part, being mindful refers to the present moment, which you perceive with the whole body and mind as well as with all feelings and sensations. Already in the oldest forms of Buddhism, mindfulness was a central point. Mindfulness can of course also be exercised by non-Buddhists. Part of this is meditation.

Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the method of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in the USA. In an 8-week program, participants can practice their ability to cope with stress through targeted attention.

 

Why mindfulness is so important

If you want more mindfulness in your life, you will benefit from many advantages. Many studies have shown the positive effects of mindfulness.

You should practice mindfulness because

  • it is good for your inner balance
  • You can handle stress better
  • Give you less worry and pressure,
  • You are more focused and see more clearly
  • You are more productive and you procrastinate less
  • You feel happier

Did these benefits convince you? Many people report that the mental state of mindfulness brings with it a very unique and special quality of experience and that they feel closer and more connected to the environment and themselves. Mindfulness makes you more satisfied and happier because you do not evaluate and judge everything, let the brooding be and accept things and circumstances as they are. That is allowed and has its justification. Mindfulness can help you to get out of your bladder, to consciously slow down the hectic everyday life and your life and to feel balanced and alive.

 

How does mindfulness work in the brain?

Everything that you train and “set in motion” grows. So does the brain - with meditation you can train this important organ and brain structures grow. Studies have shown that meditation is related to structural brain changes in areas that underlie cognitive processes that are necessary for attention or mindfulness during meditation.1

As you meditate, the sympathetic system is shut down. When stressed, this part of the autonomic nervous system actually runs at full speed. As an opponent, the activity of the parasympathetic system is increased at the same time, your regeneration is stimulated and neurotransmitters are released.

 

Tips: How Can I Learn Mindfulness?

The Christmas season is often associated with a lot of stress: gifts, pressure to consume, deadline pressure and wanting to do everything perfectly is anything but a relaxed and beautiful Christmas time. Do you have the feeling just before you Burnout to stand? Jokes aside: If you no longer want to rush through the area and enjoy the Christmas season in a relaxed way, practice your mindfulness.

At the beginning you can ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is actually good for me?
  • What does mindfulness mean to me?
  • What things do I allow myself to be stressed unnecessarily?
  • What things can I really change and what not?

Often we get annoyed for too long about things that are unnecessary, about which we cannot change anything, or about things that are agonizing. Mindfulness teaches you to approach conflicts more relaxed. Make it clear to yourself that feelings and thoughts are fleeting and will pass away again. We often give them too much importance and identify with them. Remember that your feelings and thoughts come and go again.

 

Mindfulness: Keep a gratitude or happiness journal

You can practice more mindfulness by writing down everything you are grateful for and what made you happy every day, like in a diary. In doing so, you focus on the positive and you may even notice that you value things more that you previously took for granted.

 

Take your time to be more mindful

The following should certainly sound familiar to you: You are eating with friends or family and your smartphone is on the table. Then there is a tone, you have received a new message. You're still trying not to pull yourself together to look, but the blinking makes your fingers tingle. You try to be polite and turn the screen down. Nevertheless, you only listen half-heartedly and use the next quiet opportunity to look at your smartphone. Admittedly, this is very exaggerated, but you are certainly familiar with such situations from others.

Such behavior makes your conversation partner or you feel that you are not being taken seriously. Christmas time in particular is about enjoying time together and giving each other attention, gratitude and love. That is why the smartphone is taboo at the dining table (even outside of Christmas)! If you want to show your surroundings something on your smartphone, you can do that later. Enjoy the delicious food, consciously listen to the people and be there.

Mindfulness makes you calmer and helps you to enjoy even the very little moments in life. If you want to light the candles for more comfort, do this very consciously, sit down and enjoy the cozy warmth and atmosphere that it creates for you.

 

Mindfulness: stop evaluating

If you want to practice mindfulness, the hardest part is probably to stop evaluating, judging and questioning. You shouldn't judge yourself or others or the current situation if it doesn't help you. Try to distance yourself from this by not assigning any meaning to the circumstances and probably only interpreting them personally. Just watch.

It is good practice if you try to see the situation from a different perspective. Try to break away from your opinion and your attitude and put yourself in the shoes of another person or in the opposite view. So if you catch yourself evaluating yourself, other people or situations and feelings, consciously take the other perspective. This makes you freer, more stress-resistant and takes the pressure off you.

 

Mindfulness meditation

Another typical practice is mindfulness meditation. Studies have found that mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can reduce your symptoms of stress, increase the perceived control over your own life and you can accept the state better and react more relaxed in stressful situations.2

Guided meditations, which you can find on YouTube, are particularly suitable for getting started with mindfulness meditation. If you are super motivated and mean really serious, you can also do a 10-day course in a Vipassana meditation center. The course is very intense, but it's definitely worth the investment!

From the perspective of an observer, you try to look at everything curiously in mindfulness meditation, without making a value judgment. If you have no previous experience with meditation, it may be difficult for you at first, but accept that and keep on doing it. Mindfulness is also a matter of practice.

 

Mindfulness during the Christmas season

If the roast burns on Christmas Eve, that's a shame and annoys you at first. But can you really change something in this moment? See it with humor and make the most of the situation. A year later you will laugh at such memories - I promise!

When it comes to the topic of Christmas presents, stress is often preprogrammed here too. You have probably already looked through many gift ideas and a voucher should definitely not be an option. With large families, the wallet suffers above all. If your friends and family are annoyed about the gift search, it just matters that you don't give yourself anything. If you have children in the family you can of course leave them out. Nothing is better than time together, which you give to each other and consciously take for each other at Christmas. If you don't want to do without gifts, then you should listen to your loved ones very carefully for some time in advance and write down possible gift ideas.

The demand for perfection also causes stress during the Christmas season. Especially in the age of the media, we see nicely laid tables and decorations on Pinterest and Instagram that can put you under pressure. Lower expectations or get help with your preparations. Divide up the tasks and have fun creating a great party.

 

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Summary

The closer you get to Christmas, the higher your stress level. It doesn't have to be. You can get through the Christmas season completely relaxed and even enjoy all the hustle and bustle. Think about what Christmas actually is for you.

Mostly we have a perfect and very specific picture of Christmas, which comes from our previous experiences and you have certain expectations. Especially during the Christmas season, many pictures are leaked to us in our environment.

Christmas markets, shops, films - we often see a perfect, kitschy world and excessive harmony here. That's all well and good, but it can also be terribly stressful and arduous. With a little mindfulness exercise in everyday life, you too will be able to look forward to the days and enjoy the time with your loved ones. After all, interpersonal relationships are most important at Christmas.

 

 

 

 

[1] https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/8/1/34/1696981

[2] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.20237