10 Practical Ways to Increase Your Joyful Awareness

Barbara Newell is a massage therapist at BeWell and a writer. She is guest blogging for us this week with tips on a stress-free holiday season.

1. Breathe. It’s that easy, that powerful. Feel your breath go in….and out. Just notice the air is cooler on the inhale and warmer on the exhale. Allow the exhale to be a little longer. Deepen your relaxation. Stop what you are doing several times a day for this simple and powerful technique of focused breathing. If you need a prompt to do it, maybe associate it with checking your phone, email, or another frequent activity.

2. Doing what you love really does raise your vibration! Are you feeling planning pressures for the holidays, and that your time is being gobbled up by being available to too many people at once? Turn this on its head and pay yourself first with some quality YOU time. These can be simple activities: a movie, a book, painting, making music or enjoying what you hear playing while driving from one errand to the next. Doing what you love shifts your energy into a positive and more compassionate state, toward yourself as well as others.

3. With increased positive energy you may find yourself naturally reaching for nutritious foods and drinks. With everything you’ve got going on, you may feel that you do need to function like a perpetual motion machine. Taking in the best food energy you can, never super hungry and never super full, will accomplish one huge thing: You will support yourself emotionally and physiologically. No sugar peaks and valley burn-outs.

4. Get outside! It is intuitive, and many studies have shown that being outdoors sparks an invigorating awareness and provides connections for us that go straight to our core. Clean air, clear water: Essentials. Air warmed by sunlight holding you in a cocoon, shimmering snow, a cool breeze infused with scents of warm food and fireplaces, or even big fluffy snowflakes, all seem to remind us of who we are and what is important to us, as they re-empower us.

5. Massage. Yep. A fabulous form of health care is massage therapy. If you already contribute to your well being in this way, might you add another treatment or a different type per month? If you’ve not yet begun….no better time than now. Massage has been clinically proven to reduce stress and pain, and induce a relaxation response that brings your mind, emotions, and body into a state that delivers a better functioning immune system and better clarity of thought.

6. Right along with massage goes stretching. If a stretching routine is new to you, do nothing too vigorous, after all you don’t want an injury. However