Happy, Healthy, and Free during the Holidays

Ivona Bhadha, LCSW

Director of Family Services,

The Florida House Experience

505 South Federal Highway

Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441

(866) 580-4867


The holiday season brings joy and challenges. One big challenge is stress due to activity overload. When stressed, your body releases stress hormones, you feel what is termed a “fight or flight” response. Luckily, you can get through a stressful period by practicing stress reduction techniques. Enabling you to create happy and meaningful holiday memories.

4 Tips for thriving during the Holidays

1) Practice mindfulness as a way of being present – daily practice of cultivating nonjudgmental awareness. Mindfulness is best done when you stop, take a deep breath and be in the moment, not off in your head somewhere else. It takes mindfulness practice to produce great results.

2) The stress STOP technique:

Hit the pause button!

Take a deep breath. Use 7/11 breath awareness – 7 seconds inhale through your nose, 11 seconds exhale through your mouth – focus on the physical sensations of your breath. This is very calming.

Observe: Notice the whole situation from a distance. What is really happening? Observe without judgement. Simply identify what feeling is present. Notice sensations in the body.

Proceed with compassion. You can choose to respond lovingly and take the appropriate action.

3) Focus on connecting with others. Holiday parties and family gatherings can be enjoyed with a greater sense of happiness by connection with others. Use “10-5-1 connection formula” meaning 10 smiles, 5 Hellos and 1 deep conversation daily.

4) Make genuine encounter moments (GEMS) with your loved ones, especially with children. Many times we are physically present but mentally somewhere else. GEMS are genuine encounters when we are fully present and experiencing the true meaning of the holidays.

We wish you and your families a wonderful Holiday Season!

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