Stop, Look and Listen – Holiday Mindfulness

by Patricia on

As a child, I was taught to Stop, Look and Listen before crossing the street. This has been a valuable tool all these years, now a deep neural pathway when walking and when driving that has kept me alive.

This same simple process can help you find peace during the holidays. Surprised? It can help you be mindful, present to the moment, and keep you peaceful during stressful moments.

Before responding in a situation, Stop and breathe – focus on the inhale through your nose, hold for just a moment, and then exhale through your mouth. A simple breathing technique that calms emotions and can help you become present, in your body and aware. Often, when emotions are up and stressful, we shift quickly into the future and become afraid of what will happen next. In the now, in almost every situation, we are not in danger, we just became emotionally reactive. Breathing calms the body and the mind.

Look. Notice the present, who is there, what is that person wearing, where are you, what does the space look like, is there any true danger? Notice that in the moment you are safe. Allow yourself to be aware of details of the moment.

Listen. Consider that all communication is love or a request for love. When the communication doesn’t appear to be loving, perhaps that person is emotionally activated and doing what they have learned to do in order to survive. Choose compassion. Ask your heart “How can I love here?” Then listen and respond with love.

You can also apply this as Stop, Look and Taste – be conscious of what you are eating, why you are eating, how much you are eating. Slow down, taste what is in your mouth, chew slowly, appreciate the food as fuel for your body and mind.

Or Stop, Look and Smell – Breathe the calm emotion breath, look around you and mindfully connect to the present moment. Become aware of the scents around you. Scent is a very powerful anchor to memories. It may be triggering you without your conscious awareness. Choose to be present to the smell, appreciate it in the now. Choose next what emotion you want to feel in connection to that scent.

You can also Stop, Look and Feel – Breathe in slowly, hold and exhale. Allow your emotion to calm and be present to the now. Look and notice the details of the present. Be aware of the emotions around you. Are you getting “hooked” by the emotions of others? Are you responding as if you were a young child again? What do you want to feel? Choose love, forgiveness and gratitude then be aware of how your body feels as you shift your emotions.

Practice Stop, Look and …… as a mindfulness technique that helps you celebrate the Now. It will bring you holiday peace of mind and can become a strong neural pathway (habit) that will serve you well all year long.

Mindful Holidays to you!!

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