To minimize the stress that can accompany holiday shopping and events, focus on the “power of the breath,” said Darshan Mehta, medical director at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
■ “When you notice yourself getting flustered, observe it,” Mehta said. “Take a breath. It breaks the automatic pattern that’s about to happen.”
■ Take a pause, or “mini relaxation.” Count upward to 10, hold the breath and exhale using a chosen phrase (e.g., “love”).
■ Be aware of your own physical limits. To avoid lower back pain (from carrying bags and big gifts), pay attention to when you need a break. Even walking through a mall can be meditative.
Defusing anxiety is about self-care and self-compassion. “The holidays are all about the ways we care for others,” Mehta said, “but the best way we can take care of others is by taking care of ourselves first.”
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