Yet another holiday season is upon us. It’s that time of the year again when you’re getting ready to shop your heart out, meet up with family and friends, stuff up on yummy food, or perhaps get away to some exotic location. As exciting as the holidays can be, they do come with their own set of expectations of perfection – leading up to stressful situations. A bit of an oxymoron, Holiday Stress is unfortunately something very real and leaves people feeling resentful, lonely and overwhelmed. According to the American Psychological Association, one in five Americans are worried that holiday stress could affect their physical health.
So what’s the secret to the perfect holiday? Well, we wouldn’t be able to tell you for sure, but we could certainly give you some pointers to help you along. Here are 5 simple things to treat yourself to that might just usher you into a wonderful New Year.
#1 Understand Stress
Stress, when left unattended, could cause a host of unwanted problems. Research shows that most people deal with stress by either eating more or consuming alcohol. While these are stop-gap measures that don’t really cure stress in the long run, the good news is that there are quite a few things you can do to relieve yourself from feeling stress. And the first thing would be to understand what stress is and how you can manage it better. This video might just be the thing for you.
#2 Discover the Joy of Giving
According to a recent survey conducted on over 3000 people in the UK, 65% find that holiday shopping is a stressful experience. 61% lack inspiration to shop and are worried that people won’t like their gifts. Whatever happened to the joy of giving? Perhaps this year the time is right for you to rediscover what it means to truly give.
Sadhguru: I want you to understand, you have come with nothing. So you cannot give. There is nothing to give. Everything, we have picked up from here. We take a lot and we give little, that’s the only way we can live. It doesn’t matter how much you give, what you have taken is bigger than what you have given, always. That’s the only way life can be. So don’t make too much out of giving. It’s just a trick.
If you do not know any other mode of opening yourself up to creation, giving is a simpler possibility. Just make every act, every breath into a process of giving. See how you can contribute to everything around you, no matter what you are doing. Because that’s the only way life functions. Life – the process of life is a giving. It’s a transaction – in every giving, there is a taking. It is just that you ignore the taking, that’s all. You are taking more than you are giving, but in your mind you just ignore the taking, you just keep giving. You will see, in 24 hours time you will be so rich. The experience of life, the beauty of life will set a glow on your face just like that. Simply because that’s how you are.
#3 Learn to Live One Moment at a Time
A large portion of our stress comes from the anticipation of what lies ahead, in the tomorrow that no one has ever seen. Research has shown that people have a wide range of physical and emotional experiences while they anticipate a future event – leading to loss of sleep, racing thoughts and comfort eating.
The holidays this year might be the perfect time for you to come out of your anxiety about tomorrow. This beautiful video should help you get started.
#4 Make Room for Understanding
According to the British Association of Anger Management, nearly one in four adults feel that their relationships undergo pressure during the holidays, while one in two want to end it with their partner over a festive argument. When expectations are running high and nerves are stretched to a taut, it’s inevitable that we might turn on the people who are closest to us. But with a little understanding and a lot of love, the very people who seem to be trying our patience could help us find joy within ourselves.
As Sadhguru says, the person right next to you is “an absolutely unique human being. If you recognize that there is only one like this, such a precious material, how can they irritate you?” After all, he says, “there are very wonderful people around you, but once in a while they like to go crazy. If you don’t understand that, you will lose them.” So perhaps it’s time to bury the hatchet and bring in a little bit of love and understanding into your life. If you want more help on this, you could read the series Loving the Irksome we did a while ago – Parts I and II.
#5 Give Yourself the Gift of Meditation
A lot has been said about meditation in the world; some have even called it a brain exercise. Perhaps, not all of them are quite right. If you’ve never really understood what meditation is all about, or if it really works, now is a good time as any to find out. “It is a quality,” says Sadhguru, a “homecoming.”
Sadhguru: When we say meditation, you have to understand that this is not something that we can do. You can become meditative, you can never do meditation. It is a certain quality. If this quality has to blossom within you, you need to cultivate your body, your mind, your emotion and energy to a certain level of preparedness. If you create a certain atmosphere, meditation will blossom. If there is spring in the soil, spring in the sunlight, spring in the atmosphere around, flowers will blossom, isn’t it? Flowers will not blossom because you sit there and peel them.
So if you sit there and try to meditate, it is not going to happen. If you create the necessary atmosphere in your body, mind, emotion and energy, meditation has to blossom. Meditation is not about going somewhere, it’s a homecoming. It is getting back to your original nature. Instead of being on the surface, you are going deeper into the core. It cannot be done, but you can make it happen.
Sadhguru on how meditation works:
Isha Kriya is a free and simple practice, available as a guided meditation with an instructional video and downloadable instructions. It has the potential to transform the life of anyone who is willing to invest just a few minutes a day. For more information, please visit http://www.ishafoundation.org/ishakriya.