Quieting the Inner Self for a More Pleasurable Holiday Season

On December 11th, 2011, posted in: Peaceable Classrooms, Peaceable Living by

Christmas flyers spread on the table.

The holiday season is in full swing again.  Christmas ads are on the TV, the Sunday paper has more sales flyers than news, and children are wound-up, anxiously anticipating Christmas morning and all of the ‘must-have’ gifts they will be receiving from Santa, family, and friends.  Young and old alike are caught-up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  It’s hard to remain relaxed when the media is pushing ads at us encouraging us to ‘catch the Christmas spirit’ by joining the Christmas rush. This tends to create an inner climate that is on edge, wired just like our outer world is this time of year.  The trick is to stay calm inside even though the world around us is in high gear.

So, how do you stay calm inside in this rushed environment?  There are some obvious things. You might decide to limit the number of parties you attend to two, or decide that you will not attend parties on week nights, work/school nights.  Playing down the importance of the ‘must-have’ gifts from Santa is another idea.  Perhaps, limit the number of these gifts.   Staying within your budget when buying holiday gifts will ease your mind and your emotions too.  You won’t have to worry about how you will pay for the gifts when the New Year rolls around.

Changes can go a long way quieting your stress level from an outer perspective, but you can work on quieting your and your child’s inner dimension as well.  Relaxation techniques calm the body, mind, and emotions.  It is hard to be at-ease and function well if you are wound-up much of the time.  Here is a suggestion to help you create a quieter climate within.  A Releasing Breath is great if you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, angry, or anxious.  You can do it at home, work, in the car, anywhere.  Here are directions for doing it while seated in a chair.

Sit forward on the chair with a straight spine feet placed firmly on the floor, knees aligned over the ankles.  Feel the sitting bones press into the chair seat: lift from the waist and elongate the spine to the crown of your head.

  1. Inhale a complete breath from the bottom up, belly, ribs, and chest.
  2. Exhale.  Blow the air out, drawing the navel toward the spine.  (The first breath will most likely be a strong, long puff.)
  3. Continue to inhale fully and exhale completely, blowing the air out until the exhalations are short and soft, just a whisper.  Notice how you are feeling.

This breathing pattern expels the tension held in the body, quieting the emotions, relaxing the body/mind.

Children age eight and older should be able to do this breathing pattern too.  (I call it Dragon Breath for children.)  Younger children can do Humming Breath.  Just have them hum with you.  Say, “Suzie, hum with me.  Hmmmmmmmmm,” no words, just sound.  Like the Releasing Breath, it quiets the body, mind, and emotions.  (Humming Breath might also be the perfect quieting technique for a child with special needs.  You’ll have to see which breathing pattern works best.)

Now, if your child is in the middle of a meltdown neither breathing pattern, the Releasing Breath or Humming Breath, will work very well.  It would be best to wait until he is less agitated, or until he has moved through the meltdown.  Later, you can talk to him about how the breathing pattern will help relax him the next time he starts to feel frustrated or whatever the negative emotion may be.  With your help, your child can eventually self-regulate with the Releasing Breath or Humming Breath on his own, as needed.  But to start, he needs your assistance.

This year you can more fully enjoy your holiday experiences.  Take care of yourself and your children by changing patterns that may be stress producing and by releasing the tension the holiday season brings through the Releasing Breath and Humming Breath.

Sandy among  the Christmas ads being yet being at-ease.

May all of your holiday gatherings this year be joyfully relaxed!


Find other helpful breathing patterns in my book Creating the Peaceable Classroom, chapters 4 and 9.





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