11/23/2012 11:09 am ET Updated Jan 21, 2013

3 Simple Tips To Cut Through Holiday Stress

Let's face it. The holiday season can be a really stressful time. Long lines at the grocery store, traffic delays, and all of the financial costs associated with gifts, hosting, or travel can shift you into fight-or-flight mode before you even know what's hit you.

The good news is that meditation can really help take the edge off of your stress. The next time you feel your blood pressure rising, or can feel your breath getting short, try one of these time-tested meditation techniques on the spot to de-stress and reconnect.

1. Feeling Stressed at the Grocery Store? The next time you encounter a difficult person in the line at the store, practice compassion meditation to keep yourself positive and balanced. To begin, take a few moments to contemplate their perspective. Maybe they're out of sorts because they've had a rough day, or perhaps they're stressed out because they have so many people to feed and not enough time to get everything done?

Once you can feel yourself empathizing with them, imagine that you could send them love and compassion with your exhales. As these positive qualities reach them, imagine that they could receive happiness and healing.

2. Stuck in Traffic? Breath-awareness practices can be used to calm your mind when you're running late to catch a train or pick someone up at the airport. If this happens to you, practicing letting go of stress by mentally counting your exhales. Set an initial goal of counting a total of 21 exhales and build up to 108 with practice. When your mind wanders, refocus by drawing awareness back to your breath and begin the count again.

3. Stressed Out at the End of the Day? Find a quiet space where you can comfortably lie flat on your back with your arms and legs extended outward away from your sides. Close your eyes, inhale as deeply as you can and hold your breath. As you do this, squeeze all of the muscles in your body as hard as you can. Release all of the tension as you exhale and deeply relax for a few moments afterward. Repeat three times and relax for two to three minutes after the final repetition.

For more by David Magone, click here.

For more on holiday stress, click here.

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