Beating Holiday Stress with Basic Meditations

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Beating Holiday Stress with Basic Meditations
Regina Bright, MS, LMHC, BCST
Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board Certified Sex Therapist
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Holidays can be stressful. Between work, parenting, in-laws, Holiday guests, shopping, traveling, and cooking, (I believe the Holiday term is hustle and bustle) life can seem pretty hectic this time of year.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I take a time out to relax and do short meditation exercises. Here are a couple of my favorites:  

Deep Breathing Exercise

Begin in a quiet comfortable area with no distractions of cell phones, T.V.’s, computers, etc.  Remember, our goal is to quiet our mind and to remain in the moment. Don’t get discouraged if you are not able to do this the first time. It took me several times to get the hang of it.  

Sit up straight and tall, feet on the floor, and hands on your tummy. Take a deep breath (in through the nose and out through the mouth) and release. Notice your ribs expand while the rest of your body is motionless. Breathe deep, slow, and smoothly. Your exhale should be twice as long as your inhale. Focus solely on your breath. If a thought comes up, bring your attention back to your breath. You are in control – resist distractions. Try this exercise daily, remember meditation is a practice.

Meditation Using Your Senses

Next time you are at the coffee shop, make your focus a cup of hot coffee. Notice the sounds around you – people talking, the steam from the cappuccino machine, the sound of whipped cream topping off a Frappuccino.  Notice the colorful ceramic cup, the steam, and the creamer swirling around the rim. Notice the fragrant aroma of the dark coffee beans. Notice the warm liquid going down your throat and warming your tummy. Notice how the warmth of the cup is warming your cold hands. Notice the taste of your favorite winter drink.

Notice what it feels like to slow down and live in the moment – it isn’t a race to get through life!

Great Mood Boosters and Stress Reducers
Asparagus = boosts mood and calms nervous system
Avocado = reduces stress, calms nervous system, and boosts mood
Bananas = calms nervous system and increases serotonin
Blueberries = reduces stress and boosts mood
Carrots = reduces stress
Cayenne = reduces depression
Chamomile = calms nervous system
Chia seeds = boosts mood
Citrus scents = boosts levels of norepinephrine
Coconuts = boosts mood
Coldwater fish = reduces stress
Dark Chocolate = reduces stress
Exercise = reduces anxiety and depression, boosts overall mental health, reduces stress, improves sleep
Flaxseed = boosts mood
Green smoothie = boosts energy
Holding hands = calms nerves
Honey = energy, antioxidant, and improves immunity
Hugs = releases oxytocin and relieves stress
Iron = alleviates fatigue and prevents anemia
Jasmine = scent calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety
Kale = boosts mood
Lavender = smelling lavender has a calming effect; reduces stress
Leafy greens = reduces stress and boosts energy
Lemon balm tea = reduces stress
Lemons = scent has a calming effect; reduces stress
Mango = calming fruit
Massage = stress reducer
Music = great anxiety reducer, stimulates blood flow, and is good for your heart
Nuts & seeds = reduces stress, calms nervous system, and boosts mood
Oats = decreases depression
Oranges / pink grapefruit = reduces stress and boosts mood
Peppermint = scent boosts mood
Quenepa = antioxidant, regulates hormones, and helps with sleep
Raspberries = calms nervous system
Raw cacao = boosts mood and calms nervous system
Rosemary = scent helps with mental fatigue

Sex = boosts immunity, stress reducer, helps insomnia, increases endorphins, and increases Oxycontin levels
Spinach = boosts mood and calms nervous system
Sweet potatoes = calms nervous system
Swiss chard = boosts mood
Tomatoes = boosts mood
Vanilla = smelling vanilla has a calming effect
Walking = increases serotonin
Vitamin D = increases serotonin
Yogurt = increases serotonin

 

Regina Bright, MS, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Board Certified Sex Therapist
Clinical Supervisor
Parent Coordinator
Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator 

Stepping Stones Professional Counseling
151 Mary Esther Blvd. Suite 310 A.
Mary Esther, Fl 32569
850-226-6430
Fax: 850-254-1986
 
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About Regina Bright, LMHC

At Stepping Stones Professional Counseling, we provide psychological counseling for children, adults, and families; relationship counseling, marital communication, conflict resolution, PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, children & adolescent behavior issues, parent-teen issues, substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, sexual addiction, mood disorders, stress management and anger management.

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