(CNN) – “We’re going to start first with the breath, and the reason we’re going to do that is that’s the most direct way to interrupt stress.” For more than 30 years, Dennis Buttimer has worked as a mind-and-body coach, helping people manage their tension.
That stress usually creeps up higher than usual during the holidays, with shopping, traveling, and family gatherings, but Dennis has some ways to keep that stress level to a minimum.
First, just breathe. Dennis said, “What we’re going to do is a yogic breath. So we’re going to inhale through the nose and we’re going to fill up our stomach like a balloon. And then let your chest rise up. And on the exhale, you just squeeze the stomach gently.”
Then, create a relaxation response. Dennis said, “I’m going to ask you to either tap alternately on the outsides of your shoulders, or, with your index fingers, just alternately tapping on the outsides of your knees. And now imagine a source of this holiday stress for you. It could be pressures, expectations, could even be grief. But when you tap the right side, it’s actually tapping more so on the left side of the brain and vice versa, so it’s hard to hold that upset state that you’re in.”