How to Be Less Stressed and More Present This Holiday Season, According to Experts – Up News Info

The dose21:45Can Mindfulness Help Manage Stress?

It’s the holiday season and for many, visiting in-laws or planning New Year’s Eve parties can be a stressful time. Dr. Melanie Badali, a clinical psychologist at the North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic in North Vancouver, explains how mindfulness can help people get through the holiday season.

The holiday season is for many a time to connect with family and celebrate. But vacations can be stressful, with family visits, travel, or the financial costs of accommodations and gifts.

To combat the stress of the holidays, psychologists and psychotherapists recommend using mindfulness.

Mindfulness describes a variety of practices that bring attention to the present, without judgment and accepting things as they are. Common tools include meditation and breathing exercises.

“There is no goal to achieve a particular state or feeling with mindfulness meditation. You’re not trying to feel a specific way, just try to be here and now and notice it,” Dr. Melanie Badali, a clinical psychologist at North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic in North Vancouver, told CBC The dose host Dr. Brian Goldman.

Badali says people often think of mindfulness as someone sitting with their legs crossed and their eyes closed. But in reality, mindfulness takes many forms, like being present in a conversation, enjoying time outdoors, or enjoying a meal.

“It’s more about being aware of what’s really going on in the moment,” says Dr. Angie Kingma, a licensed psychotherapist and occupational therapist based in Milton, Ont.

Mindfulness doesn’t change the external situations we go through, but it can “help us cope better with the experiences we have, respond with more intention and awareness,” Kingma adds.

So, if you’re looking for ways to manage stressors or relax and unwind this holiday season, here are some suggestions on how to incorporate mindfulness.

What are the health benefits of mindfulness?

With its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is not a new concept.

Badali says mindfulness practices can have several health benefits. For a, studies have shown that mindfulness can increase a person’s concentration after as little as 10 minutes of brief meditation.

Tapestry53:53Mindfulness meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Author and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn shares the value of staying here and now and making peace by paying attention.

Mindful meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may also help lower blood pressurelower stress hormone cortisol and sleep aid, to name a few of the health benefits.

In-depth research was made on MBSR too, adds Badali.

American professor Jon Kabat-Zinn is credited with creating MBSR, an eight-week group program that helps people cope with stress. It has been used by many since its inception in 1979.

How to practice during the holidays?

Kingma suggests that people give themselves “permission to feel any difficult emotions that arise.”

Whether it’s stress, anger or sadness, she says learning to accept emotions without judgment and focusing your attention on the sensations of your breath can be very helpful.

For example, if someone is at a holiday party and feels overwhelmed, Kingma says the individual should give themselves permission to get some fresh air or go to another room.

“They don’t have to feel pressured into participating in traditions if they don’t feel up to it this year,” she says.

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For those new to mindfulness, Kingma recommends being present with daily tasks like washing dishes and opening up to their five senses.

She says it can be a way “to develop your mindfulness skills or practice mindfulness at any time, as long as it’s with the intention of focusing on this present moment and the willingness to keep bringing their minds back. attention” without judgment.

She also recommends the free introduction from the Center for Mindfulness Studies online course.

Badali suggests his clients use the STOP technique – invented by Kabat-Zinn – when needed.

WATCH | Try the STOP technique with the advice of this 2-minute video:

The technique uses the four letters of the word as mindfulness prompts:

  • S is for stopping and pausing momentarily.
  • T is for breathing and using your breath as an anchor.
  • O is to observe and not to judge.
  • P is for moving on and reconnecting with your surroundings.

“You might not be able to do it in holiday traffic…but we can usually find a moment or two to focus on that scale,” she says.

Kingma says it’s important to be kind to yourself when practicing mindfulness. And if your mind wanders trying it over the holidays, that’s normal.

“The practice of mindfulness is recognizing that the mind is going to wander off 50% of the time. So it’s just learning how to train the attention back to the breath or the body or the sounds that are happening in the present moment.”

How to bring mindfulness into the family

Dipti Swain, a family and social-centered mindfulness coach and CEO of U&Me Ritual in Toronto, says she often hears from her clients that it’s difficult to work on mindfulness, especially with young children.

It can be difficult, but it’s a skill and a mindset that comes with time, Swain says.

Dipti Swain, a family and social-centered mindfulness coach, recommends people be present with friends and loved ones this holiday season. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

For families, she usually suggests placing a lamp in the middle of the room as a focal point and having everyone sit around it for 30 minutes.

“Just be with each other, be yourself and accept yourself as they are. If the kids can’t sit for it [time]it’s very good,” she said.

She also suggests putting devices away.

“Let’s just be intentional about taking time out just to be with each other,” Swain says.

Who should not practice mindfulness?

Badali says mindfulness practices may not be suitable for everyone and for all stressful situations.

“It’s helpful to have stress management techniques and to have that repertoire of self-regulation skills that we can tap into…but our environment matters too and there are real stressors in people’s daily lives” , she says.

And there are situations where directing attention to yourself and your emotions may be inappropriate, she adds.

“If I’m about to try to really take care of a client and really listen to everything they had, I’m not going to direct my attention to myself,” says Badali.

“I will direct my attention to the other person or a surgeon will direct his attention to his patient and in the car we need all of our attention focused on the steering wheel and the road.”

How long should I practice mindfulness?

Swain generally recommends people new to mindfulness start by sitting for 15 minutes.

But this duration is not an absolute rule. What is really important is this moment of being present, she adds.

“It takes time for themselves away from everything else. This is one of the most important requirements for starting the practice,” says Swain.

Body analysis exercises — which are guided or self-guided scans of different parts of the body — are also good ways to check in with yourself as you expand your awareness, Swain says.

People can use any of the many mindfulness apps on the market, which often have guided meditations and other resources, Badali says. She recommends starting with free options, like UCLA’s Mindful Consciousness Research Center. free resources.

Badali says it’s important for people to take the time to connect with themselves and others this holiday season. But don’t be hard on themselves if their attention wanders.

“Mindfulness is not about effort. It’s not about accomplishment, it’s about curiosity. It’s about taking this moment to connect with ourselves and where we are right now.”

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How to Be Less Stressed and More Present This Holiday Season, According to Experts – Up News Info

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