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Has anyone wanted to swap  'hap, happiest' with 'cray, craziest' and then hide under a rock until this most wonderful time of the year passes by?!

If you're the type that is likely to have a merry meltdown soon, read on for some tips, techniques and guided meditations to help you become your most present and peaceful self this holiday season. 
"No Gifts Please, Your Presence is Your Present."
 
We've all seen this line on invitations, and we all roll our eyes in unison.  However, there is major truth to this saying when we take it beyond our physical presence and include our full mindful presence as well.

But how can you become more mindfully present???  Glad you asked... 
 
Technology Detox
  • Put it ALL away.  Get the technology completely out of reach so you will not be tempted to use it.
  • You can rest assured that Facebook will not come to a halt without your likes and Trump's Tweets will not be silenced without your comments.
Use All Five Senses
  • Take a breath or two and really hear what you’re hearing around you. Look around and really see what you’re seeing.
  • Practice mindful eating.  What are you tasting? Smelling? Touching? Chew your food.  Taste your food.  Smell your food.  Your loved ones have spent a lot of time preparing your meal so take the time to enjoy it. 
Engage in Active Listening
  • People hurry through the holiday gatherings with countless conversations, but almost always miss the message.  There is too much hearing without listening (cheers Paul Simon) so let's take an active role in really listening this year.  
  • Try to not formulate a response to what someone is saying, but instead, just listen.  No advice, no opinion, no reaction, just listen. 
 
Are you with me so far my festive little Buddhas???
Show Empathy, Kindness and Openness With Others
 
Stop Keeping Score
  • So what if you already did the dishes, took out the garbage twice and your husband is still sitting on the couch playing video games.  You have now burned more calories than him, so just let it go and give up the tit for tat. 
Redirect Negative Attention
  • If someone is irritating you, redirect by focusing on the most beautiful/wonderful thing about them.  Stop, feel your feet on the ground, breathe, then scan the person and come up with your internal positive answer.
Create a Judge-Free Zone
  • Learn to appreciate and accept your loved ones as they are.  Everyone has a crazy Uncle Buck (who perhaps likes to go on and on AND ON with his insular political and religious beliefs) but whether or not we agree with Uncle Buck, we love him, and need to accept him for exactly who he is today.
Show Empathy, Kindness and Openness With Yourself
 
Learn to Be Kind to YOU
  • Hand out a judge-free pass to yourself this holiday!
  • Eliminate ALL critical self-talk and remember to treat yourself as kindly as you would treat your bestie. #loveyaselfie
Curb Your Obligations
  • Stop the guilt, and go ahead and RSVP as a "no" to your neighbor's cousin's nephew's Christmas performance. He will be okay without you there.
  • Learn to say NO this season and have yourself a merry little selfish time. 
Mindfulness Techniques
 
Breathe
  • Try a "double exhale meditation" by doubling your typical exhale breath (i.e. if you inhale for 2 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds; if you inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds) and do this 10 times. 
  • This could be a great exercise for takeoff/landing (or while stuck on a tarmac for hours) or when you need to walk outside and take a little time out.  #namasteawayfromme
Set Intention & Pay Attention
  • Ask yourself "What is the meaning of the holiday season for me? If I could create my ideal holiday season what would it look like?" Be specific and write down your answers to set your intention.
  • Remember to pay attention to your intention and keep referring back to this as you go about your holidays.  Are the activities you're engaging in consistent with your intention?  If not, re-evaluate and get back on track.
Practice Positive Present Communication
  • And then say that five times fast ;) 
  • While doing any holiday-related task (wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, baking cookies, etc.) simply stop and say to the people you’re with “I love doing [fill in the blank] with you guys.” This little pause might be just enough to bring everyone into the present moment.

Guided Holiday Meditations 
 
Calm the Elf Down (3 Minutes)
Holiday Zen (10 Minutes)
Holiday Stress & Winter Blues (15 Minutes)
Holiday Triggers and Family Gatherings (45 Minutes)
Holiday Meditation Music (Great for driving or peaceful background noise)
If Santa can find the time to meditate this season... so can you!
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