Simon and Garfunkel had it right. Slow down folks, you move too fast. Avoid those stressors and concentrate on being well over the long haul of this holiday season.

We all know that stress can have a detrimental effect on health. While some short-term stress like exercise is beneficial to the brain and body, chronic stress elevates cortisol (the stress hormone) which research has shown damages cognition and contributes to weight gain, as well.

A recent article on NPR summed up how breathing can have a profound impact on our physiology and our health. Well, yes, we all breathe or the alternative isn’t so hot. What it comes down to is deep breathing!

Some keys to wellness and gaining a feeling of control:

  • A former colleague of ours gave us our favorite, simplest de-stressor and it really works: the “1-minute meditation.” Take a deep breath. Feel it and see it going deep into your lungs. Hold it as long as you can. Then, slowly, slowly, slowly breathe out. Feel it and see it going back out of your lungs. Focus on the actual breathing and put your mind into the process. So simple!
  • Force yourself to stop during the day – no you don’t have to smell the roses – but take a moment to put your mind in a happy place. Try skipping. You do remember how to skip, don’t you? For those stressed out people on your shopping list, gift them with The Happiness Project, a handy-dandy book to set them on the right road. Gift yourself too while you’re at it!

Those songsters knew about mindfulness and making the moments last. “Life, we love you – all is groovy.” Now we’re skipping off to shop!