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A Simple Practice for Stressful Holidays

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

By Leo Babauta

The holidays are some of the busiest and most stressful times of the year for many people.

In this chaotic time of travel, family gatherings, holiday parties, gift shopping and wrapping, and more … I’d like to offer a simple practice.

This is a mindfulness practice to bring presence and relieve stress, and allow you to be with your loved ones (and yourself) in a more loving way.

Here’s the practice:

  1. Let go of everything you need to worry about, and just drop into the present moment. Notice what your body feels like, notice your surroundings, notice what it feels like to be alive in this moment.
  2. See if you can be kind to yourself for a moment. Turn inward and give yourself some kindness. Relax your feeling toward yourself and allow it to have a friendly quality.
  3. Bring gentleness and relaxation into this moment. Relax your body, relax your face, and have a relaxed, gentle attitude toward your experience.

That’s it. Drop into the present moment, be kind to yourself, and bring gentleness and relaxation into the moment.

Two additional practices, if you feel like it:

  1. See if you can love this moment just as it is. Without needing it to change. Without needing others to change. Just as it is. Love it completely.
  2. Do nothing but whatever you’re doing. Just one thing. If you’re washing a dish, let that be your whole world. If you’re talking to someone, let that be the only thing in the universe. If you’re reading, doing a task, replying to an email, let that be all that you are doing. Everything else can drop away.

As you move through the busyness of these holidays, think of this as a wonderful opportunity to practice and open your heart.

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