10 Reasons Why You (and Everyone) Should Meditate this Holiday Season

1. Keep your mind sharp and focused.

Meditation limits distracting thoughts and keeps you "on task" with all your holiday obligations. Baking cookies with the kids? Then enjoy your afternoon baking cookies! Focus on the texture of the dough, the scent of vanilla, the smudge of flour on your toddler’s nose. Deciding what shoes to wear at the office dinner party can wait - savor the moment.

2. Put your "to do" list in perspective.

An infusion of mindfulness can turns tedious tasks and time constraints into lightweight or even stimulating challenges. The more urgent emails in your morning Inbox the more urgently! you need to breathe. Pause before clicking on the each email; appreciate how your brain tackles, sorts and responds all the new information.

3. Increase your overall energy.

Tired after house cleaning in anticipation of your in-law’s annual December visit? Elevate your mood and revitalize your spirit with a five ­minute meditation break. Notice the beautiful centerpiece you created on the dining room table! You hardly noticed it before...maybe there’s time to make one for the kitchen too? Cut the spiral of exhaustion that takes away your enjoyment of simple holiday projects.

4. Manage frustrations, prioritize commitments.

Use the meditation tools at your disposal to tackle sticky situations with grace and finesse. Holidays can be a time of overload–parties, obligations, all the running around–you might get short­-tempered juggling everything at once. How to keep cool and make appropriate choices? Creative solutions often arise when a little "mental space" is chiseled out in a racing, over­anxious mind. Embrace and accept challenges rather than trying to fight against them.

5. Preserve your health and vitality.

It’s cold and flu season. The last thing you need is a sore throat or nagging cough to slow you down. Turning your attention inward for just a few minutes each day can provide a nourishing check­in for your body, mind and spirit. Self-care can often be overlooked during the holidays. Did you take your multivitamin at breakfast? Forget to wrap a scarf around your neck on a blustery day? Small hardships can derail into glaring obstacles when you take the mindless route.

6. Keep chronic conditions at bay.

Migraines, panic attacks, sleep disorders, stomach ailments, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure - do you notice an intensification of chronic ailments during the holiday season? Try mitigating symptoms with your meditation practice. Migraine coming on? Stop what you are doing! Tune into your body and mental state; take care of that headache before it incapacitates you for the rest of the day.

7. Tame your anxiety, lift your depression.

Everyone struggles with negative emotions and moodiness over the holidays. Depression can keep you away from a family dinner; anxiety might cause you to miss a festive night out with friends. Absorbed in thoughts, you might run a red light without even noticing. Daily meditation practice can help- never underestimate the power of simply focusing on your breath. Mindfulness can flip your mood with just a few brief exercises.

8. Cultivate self­-compassion and maintain a positive self-­image.

Glittering decorations, spiced cider, gleeful co­workers, well-intentioned cousins- sometimes holiday "cheer" only intensifies sad and lonely feelings. How can you resist isolating yourself or entering into a negativity spiral? Try taking a meditation break. Check-­in with yourself. Be yourself instead of beating yourself up.

9. Rediscover your natural empathy.

Meditation encourages compassionate, caring feelings for friends, family and all the people around you. When you empathize with others, you organically connect to the greater good. You might reconcile with an estranged friend, cook an elderly neighbor a holiday meal, make a charitable contribution, or rescue a shelter pet. Feel good about doing good.

10. Infuse your world with a cheerful outlook.

A calm, clear mind leads to well-­intentioned actions, even amidst all the busyness of the holiday season. When you meditate every day you don’t need to "fake" it. You can be fully present, ready for anyone or any situation, no matter how wonderful, awkward, unexpected, or embarrassing. After all, isn’t that what it’s that what the holidays are all about?

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