As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, we give thanks for the abundance which we have in our lives and send wishes for peace to the world. But how much peace do we, ourselves, experience? It is my heartfelt wish to assist you to cope with the flurry of activity and the unconscious need to do, do, do and give, give, give over the holiday season this year.

Meditation can help you to stay centered amidst the whirlwind of activity, handle stressful situations with more grace, and give you a precious break time to relax and renew before the next activity. You can set aside as little as ten or fifteen minutes each day to experiment with a relaxation technique, a more formal meditation, or simply to settle into silence.

You might like to try this. Sit comfortably or lie down (taking care to stay alert and not fall asleep) and close your eyes. Begin by turning your attention to your body. Scan it briefly, beginning with your toes and moving to the top of your head. If you encounter any spot that seems tense, see if you can just relax that tension. Just let go of any tightness or discomfort. Now notice any sounds you may hear. Just let them come and go, expanding your attention to include them, rather than considering them a distraction. Are there smells? Do you feel a breeze on your skin or the weight of your body on the chair or bed? Just observe as these things move in and out of your awareness. If thoughts arise, simply allow them to pass by as though they were clouds in the sky. If emotions arise, notice how they rise and fall, like ripples on the surface of a pond. You are just relaxing, just observing, just in a state of being. When your time is up, allow yourself gently to return to your everyday reality. Begin by moving your fingers and toes, then stretching your body. Finally, in your own time, open your eyes.

After this brief respite, you will feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to move with more ease and grace through the many holiday activities that await. And remember, whenever you need a break, you can once again become the relaxed observer for a few minutes.

Author's Bio: 

Roshani Shay, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Hawaii Wellness Institute and former Co-Director of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs of Hawaii . When she discovered meditation in 1984, it provoked a major life transformation which included dropping caffeine and cigarettes, perfectionism, and a compulsion for being a workaholic. Roshani has facilitated meditation workshops for more than ten years and is widely known for the way she gracefully moves through challenging situations with effectiveness and relative equanimity.