• Craig Ali

Having a Mindful Christmas


We are almost there, not quite time to fully switch off but almost! We end up having to run so fast in the build up to Christmas that sometimes when it comes we don’t have a mindful Christmas, especially with everything that has happened this year and the unknown of what 2021 will bring. We have to remember to let go of the past year and be present and to help you with that, I have a simple little exercise called ‘Taking in the Good!’ to train you how to embody and experience pleasant sensations to the maximum. Neuroscience research shows that (check out Rick Hanson’s research) if you sit with a pleasant experience in the body for just 15-20 sec it starts to activate neurons in the brain that help build pathways that lead you to positive, open and happy thoughts/emotions. Hanson also has a great definition of resilience- ‘Walking even on uneven ground!’. This is so prevalent right now as the world has never been on such ‘uneven ground’ in our life times but a way to ‘walk even’ on this ‘uneven ground’ is to stop, pause, be present and especially take in some of the pleasant experiences that Christmas can bring.

Below are some ways you can tune your mind into being present and have a mindful Christmas but remember when noticing these experiences to stop and take all of your sensory awareness to the experience. Taste it, smell it, hear it, see it and feel it!

– Take time to taste of the food and wine. There’s a lot of treats at this time of year but it’s very easy to just wolf down the chocolates and guzzle the wine. Take your first couple of bites and sips mindfully and experience the pleasure of the treats. – The fun times and laughs with your loved ones. This year even more so than any other year is a time to laugh, joke and just BE with those closest to us and enjoy each others company and have some fun. – The festival of celebration. There’s lights, decorations, music (I appreciate some of it can be a bit much for sure) so notice some of the details of it all. It’s a novelty from daily, mundane living so notice the tiny details of this festival. – Disengage from technology as much as possible. Switch the phone off, stay away from zoom and the computer as much as you can and be present with everything in your ‘real’ experience, not your virtual one. If you watch a movie, switch the phone off and just watch the movie. If you’re resting or just sitting down with a book, notice when your mind will try to distract you by reaching for your phone etc. and remind yourself that it’s ok to just rest and relax.

These are all times to be fully present and make the most out of the holidays that you’ve worked hard for.

Wishing you all a happy and mindful Christmas and hope that 2021 will bring peace, joy and growth! Craig

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