For many people, the holidays are their most favorite time of the year. Between the gift giving, get togethers, cheerful music, cozy decorations, and quality time with friends and family, there are so many wonderful things to enjoy during the holiday season. But with a million things to do, places to be and people to see, this time of year can also be one of the most stressful, to say the least. To help, we rounded up a short list of meditation and mindfulness technique that can help ease your stress and anxiety during the holidays—so they truly are the most wonderful time of the year.

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Be Present in the Hustle and Bustle

When you’re stuck in a long line at the mall or in a traffic jam that goes on for miles, try to remain present in the situation rather than tuning out, losing your patience or becoming angry. Take a look around you, noticing all the people you’re surrounded by. Hear the holiday music playing in the background. Smell the scent of pine trees wafting through the air. The more you pay attention to all the sights and sensations around you, the calmer you’ll be while you wait. This practice also helps you find more empathy for others going through the experience, too. It teaches you that you aren’t just stuck in the traffic. You are the traffic.

Master the Mindful Minute

The kids are fighting over toys, your mother-in-law is critiquing your gravy recipe, you’re already five minutes late to your neighbor’s holiday party, and you’re just about to lose it. Instead of blowing up and snapping at someone out of anger, step aside and take 60 seconds to reset. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, breathe in deeply through your nose, exhale slowly through your mouth and repeat five times. Just a few relaxing, concentrated breaths are enough to bring you back to center, lower your heart rate and help you find the joy that the holiday season is all about.

Start a Gratitude Journal

Whether you already have one or have never even thought about using one, writing in a gratitude journal each day during the holiday season is an easy way to get some perspective on what really matters this time of the year. Each night before bed, jot down three things that feel like the biggest gifts in your life (even better if they’re not actual gifts, but people and experiences instead!).

Meditate During Travel

Get nervous on a plane or hate the crowds on a train? Try meditating during your holiday travel to lower stress and anxiety. We suggest downloading a mediation app like Calm or Headspace, and listening to one (or a few!) of their guided meditations while traveling to ease tension. Don’t have access to an app? Just close your eyes and focus on your breath, letting thoughts and sounds come and go.

Practice Breathing Exercises

If you’re having a hard time concentrating on the breath amidst all the busyness of the season, try a rhythmic breathing exercise to enhance your focus. Breathe in through your nose, counting slowly to four. Then gently hold your breath as you count to four, and release your breath through your mouth while counting to eight. Repeat as needed to stay focused and find some stress relief.

Bonus Tip: Try Our Guided Stress-Relieving Meditation!

We partnered with Kevin Wathey of Synchronicity Yoga to bring you a guided audio meditation for lowering holiday stress. The best part: It’s only five minutes (because we know how busy you are)! Find it here >

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