Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas, with all its hustle and bustle, can be a stressful time. And, when our stress goes up, our insight goes down. That can cause you to overreact and hurt someone’s feelings exactly when you want to have peace and good will. The antidote to change this downward spiral can be found in instituting a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness is being in the present moment without judgment – you just breathe and observe. When you pay attention to your experience and just observe it, as opposed to evaluating it, you’ll increase your awareness. That will give you the opportunity to make a different choice in a stressful situation. You’ll then have a different outcome

John Shukwit, a mindfulness expert from the Canyon Ranch Life Management Department, says that observation lowers resistance, which, in turn, makes you more open and increases your chance of success. It improves your understanding of a situation, which makes it easier to accept.

As human beings, we are quick to judge and, as soon as we label things, we move out of the present moment and become mindless. “Evaluation increases resistance which decreases openness and lowers your chance of success,” says Shukwit.

Unfortunately, habit overrides our ability to pay attention to the present moment. The way to overcome the habit muscle is to practice awareness and “be here now.” That will provide insight and lower self-judgment.

You’ll come to realize that: we have no control over our thoughts, that any thought gives rise to a feeling, that we tend to label that feeling as good or bad, and that we can break the thought/ behavior cycle by focusing on one thing at a time.

The wonderful thing about a mindfulness practice is that, in the present moment, there is no distress and isn’t that what you want this Christmas?

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