Joyful Meditation for the Holidays

The following heart-based meditation comes from the Institute of HeartMath, in Boulder Creek, California, and is a wonderful technique to redirect the mind and replace negative emotions with positive ones.

First, get your body in a comfortable, relaxed position and focus on breathing slowly and rhythmically, so that the length of your inhalations and exhalations are about the same. Find a breath rate that feels sustainable for you.

Next, bring your awareness to the center of your chest and imagine your breath flowing in and out of your heart center. As you continue to breathe in and out of your heart, remember a time when you felt a positive emotion such as gratitude, joy, or love.

Think about being with loved ones, a beloved pet, appreciation for the good things in your life. This associative memory generates a positive emotion. If you can’t recall such a memory, then simply imagine a positive feeling moving in and out of your heart as you breathe. If your mind wanders, gently return to the positive feeling, allowing the sensations of gratitude, love, or joy to flow with your breath.

Continue to circulate this heartfelt feeling for a few breaths, or even for a few minutes. Then pause to notice the effects of the practice.

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