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Mindfulness at Christmas

Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. Crowded shops, money worries and stresses about having a ‘Happy Christmas’ can cause people to live outside the moment instead of really enjoying it.

“Christmas is a very stressful time because we get caught up in worries that we have to have expensive gifts or make the most fantastic Christmas dinner. Just look at the Christmas ads on television – you’d swear everybody comes from a huge, multi-generational, incredibly happy, functional family where the only trauma is that somebody drops a roast potato,” says Josephine Lynch of mindfulness.ie.

“If you were to sit with most families you’d find there’s a lot more dysfunction than that. These ads create false expectations of what Christmas is supposed to be like and mindfulness helps us to realise that myth and shows us what’s really there in that present moment.”

The practise of mindfulness involves focusing our attention to whatever is going on in the present moment. Usually, that means whatever is going on outside your head. It also includes focusing on your own feelings without having to obsess over them or act them out.

The concept is far from a hip new trend, its history spans centuries and is rooted in Buddhist meditation practice. Numerous studies have been carried out on mindfulness based stress reduction over the past 30 years.

Experts say mindfulness meditation is something we have all experienced without even realising. An example of this is a time when we have taken walks on a nice day and stopped to notice the fresh air, blue sky and scenery around us.

Mindfulness.ie run workshops and courses which teach ways of incorporating the practise into daily life. The Headspace App is also available and bringing mindfulness to the masses with tips and prescriptions to help people to cope better with the stresses of everyday life.

So as we near the festive season, take a step back and learn to be fully present for all that Christmas — and life — has to offer.

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