January / February 2016
By Dr. Radheshyam Miryala and Dr. Ragini Miryala
The holiday season is here! As our enthusiasm for the festivities grows, so does an underlying level of stress. A 2008 holiday poll showed that over 80% of Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season. The cause of stress comes from many directions. One of the biggest culprits is financial pressure to purchase gifts, decorations, food, and other holiday related items. Another source may be strained relationships within families. Although we want to look forward to this joyful time of reconnecting with loved ones, reunions can become a place for toxic relationships to come to a head as family jealousies, regrets, and rivalries come to light. Other sources of stress include the multiple social obligations, weight concerns, shopping, crowds, and the ever increasing holiday traffic.
Many blogs and advice columns speak about surviving holiday stress, but we don’t just want to survive, we should want to thrive! This holiday season, I would encourage us to turn the holidays from a stressful period to one of joy and abundance. We need a strategy so that our emotions and our exhaustion don’t get the better of us. Along with eating healthy, exercising, and getting a good night’s rest, our daily routine should include some personal time for relaxation, reflection, and meditation.
There have been many studies detailing the effect of meditation on reducing stress and anxiety. Meditation has also been shown to have a positive effect on the regulation of our emotional state. Today, there are numerous methods prescribed for relaxation/meditation; I personally recommend a daily practice of heartfulness meditation and relaxation be added as a strategy for the holiday stress. This meditation and relaxation technique can be found at heartfulness.org
The heartfulness relaxation technique is a guided relaxation method available as a video at the website above. It can be followed by an optional heartfulness meditation technique which involves focusing on the source of divine light within our hearts. If practiced daily, the heartfulness technique has the capacity to connect us with the heart’s infinite resources. This technique has the potential to increase our capacity for love and empathy. As we tap into the heart’s infinite scope for love, forgiveness, and tolerance, we enable ourselves to start living and communicating from our heart.
Starting the practice before the holidays are upon allows an opportunity to establish a habit of centering ourselves for the day. As the holidays arrive, we become accustomed to negotiating stressful situations by using our heart and reacting with love and empathy. As families come together, the heart’s capacity for tolerance and kindness makes a gathering a joyful place to build and strengthen lifelong relationships. By putting your heart into it, you can make this holiday season the best ever - filled with joy and abundance!