Mindfulness is increasingly popular within the mental health world. Mindful moments of observation are recommended for improved well-being. This is not necessarily mindfulness meditation, but a smaller type of everyday attention to each moment. If you can get out of your “mind’s eye” and stop replaying an argument from yesterday, or come back to this present moment and stop picturing a disastrous tomorrow, you can experience a calm feeling and alleviate of stress and worry. Mindfulness is being taught as a technique for treating depression and anxiety, and research suggests that it works.
Mindfulness gets you out of your head, and places you back into this moment. That’s helpful, even in small increments, to increase your sense of well-being.
Here are some tips to use mindfulness this holiday:
Cooking can be stressful- planning and orchestrating the meal to hit the table on time, fully cooked, and still warm. A Thanksgiving kitchen can be chaotic.
Mindful tools: Stop and focus your attention on the food you are preparing. Mentally notice each step. Feel the textures and of the food, and see the vibrant colors. As food cooks, pause and take in the delicious smells. Be in your kitchen, not in your head.
Family and friends
Gathering, rushing around to get some place on time, or preparing to welcome guests can lead to anxieties.
Mindful tools: Greet each person with your mind fully present on him or her. Tune in and appreciate the presence of this family member, friend, or guest. Shake hands, hug, or otherwise connect with them one by one. Pause to appreciate them fully. Be with your loved one, instead of in your mind worrying about what you need to do next.
Thanksgiving tradition involves mountains of food. Food can lead to stress when we feel pressured to overeat, or scrutinized for what food we select.
Mindful tools: Start by listening to your body, and your emotions. How much food do you want and need? Which foods do you prefer? Is there anything just outside your comfort zone that you’d like to try? And then, as you eat the food, notice mindfully how each bite smells, feels, and tastes. Place your mind fully on the experience of the food, while setting aside the other activities in the room. Let the food nourish your body, rather than using it as a tool to comfort you emotionally.