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3 Ways to Get You Through the Holidays
By Ed and Deb Shapiro,
Authors of Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World

The holidays are a tough time, when demands are constantly being made on our patience, coping capacity, and endurance! When things are not going your way or they look topsy-turvy and you just want to scream; when your day appears chaotic and you are not sure if you are coming or going; or when it feels like it is all piled on your shoulders, then this is the ideal moment to resource yourself by just stopping, being still, and breathing.

You do have what it takes within you to do everything and still be peaceful, but you may need a reminder to just stop and breathe. So here are three moments to regenerate yourself and remember why you are doing all this in the first place. All it takes is a moment to look within and reconnect with your loving heart. You can get it together even when you think it is all falling apart!

Mini-meditations can be done on a train, walking down the street, at an airport, standing at a bus stop, in an elevator, while chopping vegetables, or while sitting in the bathroom -- often the only place you can guarantee you will be left alone! Silently count your out-breath up to ten times, or walk with awareness of each step for up to ten steps. Or relax each part of your body, then silently repeat "soft belly" for five breaths.

If you are at work, then use your lunch hour to find a quiet spot, perhaps in a park, or even in the office if everyone else has gone out. If you are traveling then use that time to consciously breathe, letting your awareness follow your breath from the nose tip to your belly and back out again. If you are driving or operating machinery and feel you are getting tense, then stop for a moment, focus on any part of the body that is feeling tight and breathe into it, until you relax and let go. Silently repeat "soft shoulders" or "soft neck" and so on.

As you walk down the street or ride an elevator practice a mini-loving kindness by silently wishing everyone be well, wishing that everyone be happy. In the office you can spend a few moments repeating the names of everyone you work with and wishing them happiness. On your way home from work reflect on your day and generate loving thoughts to all those you met. When you send out loving thoughts it relaxes the space around you and dissipates any chaotic or disturbing energies. What you put out comes back to you tenfold.

1. Mini Breath Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale . . . exhale . . . count one, inhale . . . exhale . . . two, inhale . . . exhale . . . three. Then start at one again. Just three breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple. Do this as many times as you want, eyes open or closed, breathing normally.

2. Mini Walking Meditation

You can do this walking along a country lane, a city street, in the office or the garden. You can walk slowly, normal or fast, whatever feels right. As you walk become aware of your walking, of the movement of your body and the rise and fall of your feet. Become aware of your breath and see if you can bring both your breathing and your walking together. Just walk and breathe with awareness for a few minutes.

3. Instant Letting Go

Find a quiet place to sit, have a straight back, and take a deep breath and let it go. Then quietly repeat to yourself: "My body is at ease and relaxed . . . my heartbeat is normal . . . my mind is calm and peaceful . . . my heart is open and loving." Keep repeating this until you have let go of the tension and are at peace. Then take a deep breath and have a smile on your face!

Enjoy the holidays!

©2009 Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World

Author Bios
Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, are the award-winning authors of fifteen books on meditation, personal development, and social action. They are featured bloggers for the HuffingtonPost.com and for Care2.com, teach meditation workshops worldwide, work as corporate coaches and consultants, and are the creators and writers of the daily Chill Our inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. The Shapiros' books include Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award; Voices From the Heart with contributors such as President Gorbachev, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Bishop Tutu; and Meditation: The Four-Step Course to Calmness and Clarity. Ed, from New York, trained in India with Paramahamsa Satyananda, with Sri Swami Satchidananda, and with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Deb, from London, trained with Tai Situ Rinpoche. The Shapiros have taught meditation and personal development for more than twenty-five years. They currently reside in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information please visit www.EdandDebShapiro.com.