Mindfulness Through the Holidays


“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

            -Jon Kabat Zinn

Rivendell Behavioral Health hosted a luncheon on Friday, December 14, on being mindful during the holiday season. The program was led by Laura Huff, an LMSW at Rivendell Behavioral Health, who presented a few different exercises and methods to help handle situations that cause stress during the holidays. Some of the top causes of stress during the holiday season, she says, are relationships, money, overindulging and time.

“Being Present in the Moment” was the first practice Huff presented. This topic focused on removing emotion and judgement from a situation and experiencing the moment as it is, whether a moment is good or bad. Huff explained that our minds are like untrained puppies that want to wander off while we are sitting still.

Huff says that the goal of being mindful is not to be relaxed but rather be in the moment, not being distracted by other things outside of the moment you are currently in.

The “4² Breathing Exercise” was the second exercise Huff presented. This exercise is used to help those with family and relationship issues. As part of the exercise, participants were told to “breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and repeat four times.” This is done to help calm a situation in order to find a solution.

The third practice Huff presented was “Being Mindful in and Argument,” which allows space for the user to know what they are feeling during the conflict. The purpose of the exercise is to try to find ways to diffuse a situation through deep breathing.

“Body Scanning” was the next exercise Huff presented, which is used to help with money problems during the holiday season. This exercise has participants focus on several different parts of their body as they breathe starting with the feet and going up to the head. The purpose of the exercise was to notice places where there are sensations like tension or discomfort.

Overindulging was the next topic of discussion with the exercise of “Mindful Eating” being introduced. This exercise has participants look and observe the food they are about to eat and having them focus on what it feels, looks, smells and tastes like. This helps people think deeply about the snack before indulging.

The final topic of discussion was not having enough time. The exercise Huff conducted, “Focusing on a Single Minute”, has participants try to count to a minute and see how close they get. This is to help the participant consider why they feel rushed.

The seventh and final exercise is called “Gratitude” which has a person think about what they are grateful for and what matters most to them as they breathe deeply.

Huff ended her presentation explaining how important it is to be mentally present with loved ones during the holidays.

“Sometimes life can really bog us down,” Huff says.“It is important to be present with that person because that person can feel it. There is not a better gift, for us to love and care for one another.”

Learn more about Rivendell Behavioral Health at https://www.rivendellofarkansas.com/

READ MORE: How to Maintain Your Mental Health During the Holidays 

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