An Easy Way To Beat Stress This Season
Up to 61% of people report that their levels of stress increase during the holiday season. Thus, you’re not alone if you feel anxiety around buying gifts, organizing large family gatherings and spending money you don’t have. Perhaps you unfairly vent your frustrations to loved ones or neglect your own self-care during these times. Don’t let stress rob you of your strengths of love and kindness towards yourself or others.
Try this one easy exercise to boost your self-compassion and love for those around you. It’s been shown to have a wide range of benefits, including buffering against social comparisons and public self-consciousness, decreased anxiety, fewer feelings of failure and inferiority and increased feelings of happiness.
Loving-kindness meditation involves bringing an awareness to your strengths of love and kindness through reminiscing, positive imagery and affirmative statements. These are character strengths that everyone possesses in some capacity (sign in to see your Character Strengths Profile). Read more about this character trait in your VIA in-depth Reports then boost it with the activity below.
1. Sit in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths, fully filling the heart and chest and fully releasing, softening your mind and body with each breath.
2. Think back to a moment in time when you felt deeply and genuinely loved by someone. Is there an image you can tie to this experience? Savor the memory for a few moments and allow yourself to feel loved.
3. After completing step 2, slowly state the affirmations below, deeply experiencing each thought. You may also want to link a positive image to each phrase.
May I be filled with loving-kindness,
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers,
May I be well in body and mind,
May I be at ease and happy.
4. Lastly, think of a loved one and say the statements above with them in mind, replacing “I” with their name as you say each line. Repeat this process for as many people as you would like.
Loving-kindness meditation has been shown to boost self-compassion and self-kindness, which you may feel wavering during the stress of the holiday season. Use this exercise personally or guide your clients through a loving-kindness meditation during your next session.
Improve Your Coaching Practice
For more research-based strategies to use with clients, register for our online course, Mindfulness and Character Strengths in Coaching. Character strength and mindfulness experts, Dr. Donna Mayerson and Dr. Ryan Niemiec, have drawn on years of coaching experience and the expertise of the Wholebeing Institute coaching team to create this interactive course that artfully blends these complementing practices. Classes begin January 23, but space is limited, so reserve your spot now! Register on the Wholebeing website here.