Mindfulness has become a very popular word to describe bliss and awareness but many people don’t really know that mindfulness is a skill that is developed over time and that encompasses more than just being calm and connected. Mindfulness is our ability to stay present through our five senses and be aware of what’s happening in our external world and internal world: our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations. We can say that it’s the state of acknowledging and accepting whatever is happening in the present moment exactly as it is without trying to change it or exit the experience.
The practice of Mindfulness allows you to cultivate a relationship with your mind and be more present in your life. As I said, mindfulness is a practice that requires commitment and repetition so it becomes more natural and familiar. If you want to be more present and feel less anxious and stressed out during the holidays, you can start a mindfulness practice today!
The holiday season can be a very challenging time of the year for many individuals who struggle with difficult family dynamics, health issues and stress, but it's particularly challenging for those who tend to struggle around food and feelings, alcohol and substance abuse as well as other addictions (i.e. shopping!). This holiday season stop and be curious about your feelings. This means that you will intentionally make time to check in with yourself. You do this when you settle yourself into a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths, bring your awareness to your breath and the sensations in your body. Be curious about your experience. Are you feeling excited, upset, impatient, wary, bored, and/or anxious? What physical sensations lead you to this conclusion? Make sure you notice all your physical sensations and feelings without judging them, stay with them and dig deeper. What else are you feeling? Remember, you may be feeling more than one thing.
Here are few ways to help you manage emotional eating this holiday season:
Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing such as meeting with friends, walking, reading, journaling, gardening, going to the movies, doing arts and crafts, watching DIY videos, etc. Keep this list in your wallet and refer to it when you get the urge to eat out of boredom.
Call up a friend or family member who can take your mind off of eating and maybe offer a helpful ear if you need to vent.
Try waiting out the urge by giving yourself 10 to 15 minutes before you go to food. If you still want to eat after the 10 minutes have a small portion or have foods available to you already portioned.
Drink a glass of water or have a cup of tea. Sometimes hunger can be mistaken for thirst.
Keep healthy snacks with you especially if you know that you will be away from home for long periods of time. Some healthy snacks can be almonds, baby carrots, cut up fruit, and celery.