Holiday Mindfulness Activity

By Anne Peters, LMFT

It’s finally that time of year – the holidays. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, then it’s full steam ahead to celebrate our favorite winter holidays. The holiday season can bring so much joy, but it can also bring its fair share of stress and anxiety. This year is no different. In fact, we may be experiencing even more stress and anxiety as we tackle our first holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a lot to handle, but know you are not handling it alone! Here’s a great activity you can practice when you start to feel overwhelmed during this holiday season. It’s a gratitude mindfulness activity shared from the book “The Gratitude Jar” by Josie Robinson. Teach this to your teenagers, partners, and family members, and extend some gratitude and peace. Enjoy!

Gratitude Mindfulness

This is a great meditation to do at the beginning of the day, or very end. Turn off your phone and free yourself of interruptions. Either sit or lie down, whatever is most comfortable. Now close your eyes.

Take a long, slow, deep breath in and slowly exhale. Feel any tension melting away as you gradually relax deeper with each breath. Take another long, slow, deep breath in and exhale. Feel yourself drifting into a state of deep relaxation.

Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you bring your awareness to the top of your head. Picture a warm, loving, golden light spreading from the top of your head down to your toes. Feel your muscles relax as the light washes over you, surrounding and protecting you. Take a few more deep breaths and relax deeply. In this safe, relaxed state, reflect on all the things you’re grateful for: loved ones, breath in your lungs, sunshine, fresh air, the tasty dinner you had that evening, a nice compliment from a coworker – whatever comes to mind.

As each gratitude appears, visualize yourself saying the words “thank you” to each. Picture the person you’re grateful for standing in front of you. Tell them how grateful you are for them and why. Try to make the image and feeling as real as you can. Taste the delicious apple you ate for lunch and say “thank you” to it. If you’re having a difficult time coming up with gratitudes, ask God, a higher power, or the highest part of yourself to reveal them to you.

Now, allow the feeling of deep gratitude to come into your body. Notice where in your body the feeling is. Take a few deep breaths and allow this feeling to expand. Enjoy the pleasant feeling gratitude gives you, and feel it washing away your tension and negativity. You can remain in this relaxed state as long as you like.

When you’re ready, end your gratitude meditation with the following affirmation: “Thank you for the many blessings I have been bestowed with. May these blessings multiply as I continue to notice and give thanks for them. Thank you, universe. Amen.”

Now, wiggle your toes and fingers, open your eyes, and give yourself a few moments to adjust. Bring that feeling of gratitude with you as you go through your day, or drift off to sleep.

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