While we celebrate Christmas as a time of families, fun and feasting, it’s also a tough time for many.
As well as the usual loneliness, it’s even easier this year to be overwhelmed by stress as inflation-fuelled price rises and fear of the growing wave of COVID infections assail families and individuals.
“While it’s hard to control what happens to you or your family during the Christmas season, you can learn how to respond more calmly to those events,” advises Lifeflow Mediation Center Director of Teaching John Burston.
“Mindfulness can’t change how other people behave or the events that occur, but it can help you to manage your emotions better. Instead of being trapped in your worried thoughts, mindfulness frees you from ‘fight or flight’ panic mode by connecting your mind with your body to calm your emotions and think more clearly.
“For example, if you are worried about money, mindfulness won’t change your financial situation, but it can take away your panic so you feel calmer and more clear-headed to find a way through it.
“Lifeflow is suggesting three free simple ways to tap into your inner calm to better navigate and enjoy your journey through Christmas and New Year this year.”
1/ Spot meditation
While the common idea of classic meditation is sitting in a quiet space for 20 minutes or longer, Spot Mediation offers a much more practical way to apply “microdoses” of mindfulness in your daily life. Repeatedly throughout the day – eg when you’re waiting at a traffic light – escape your thoughts by running your awareness through your body by feeling its contact points – feet, thighs, back – so you can feel and relax your body. Remember to smile!
When the light turns green, focus back on driving. If you practice this regularly, it becomes a habit.
2/ Shoulder raise
Bracing your hands on your thighs, use your arms to push up your shoulders. Hold them there for a while, then release them slowly, supported by your arms. Focus your mind on how you feel. Keep going beyond where you feel it is time to stop.
3/ Neck rub
Gently grab the back of your neck with one hand and give yourself a neck massage – bringing you back in touch with your body. You can also breathe deeply into your belly at the same time to deepen this experience of body connection.
Mr Burston said the benefit of mindfulness was about restoring balance between the mind and the body. “Just as you can’t walk physically until you know how to balance your body, this also applies to our minds and emotions,” he said.
“All health relies on balance. The problem is that many people never learn where their mental and emotional balance point is. Microdoses of mindfulness throughout the day can help restore your balance and make it easier to enjoy your world.”
For more about Lifeflow Meditation Centre, visit https://lifeflow.com.au/
You can also check out the just-released Lifeflow meditation retreat schedule for 2023 at https://lifeflow.com.au/meditation-retreats/.
To arrange an interview with John Burston or for other media assistance, please email either Kath Newland at [email protected] or John Harris at [email protected]
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