Loving Kindness Calming Holiday Exercise

Loving Kindness Calming Holiday Exercise

Heart shaped Christmas ornament hanging from tree branchStress and anxiety can overwhelm us during the holidays to the point of consuming our minds and hearts, as well as affecting our bodies.

One way to develop resiliency in the midst of holiday stress is to focus on a larger purpose, a greater meaning of the season, and to consider the needs of others.

Here is a form of meditation that cares for ourselves and also gets us outside of ourselves to care for others.

This can be a brief practice in the midst of your day, during the holidays or anytime throughout the year.

Loving Kindness Meditation

  1. Arrange yourself in a comfortable and relaxed position.
  2. Bring attention to your breath, noticing your inhaling and exhaling.
  3. Bring attention to your heart, noticing the qualities in your heart.
  4. Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so.

Silently in your heart say,

  • “May I have love.”
  • “May I have joy.”
  • “May I have peace.”
  • “May I have patience.”
  • “May I have kindness.”
  • “May I have compassion.”
  • “May I have acceptance.”
  • “May I care for myself.”

Now, bring thoughts of one person (insert name) or others into your heart.

Silently in your heart say,

  • “May they have love.”
  • “May they have joy.”
  • “May they have peace.”
  • “May they have patience.”
  • “May they have kindness.”
  • “May they have compassion.”
  • “May they have acceptance.”
  • “May they care for themselves (him/herself).”

Allow this person or these people to go on their way with your blessing.

Allow yourself to go on your way blessed with these intentions in your heart.

May you and those you love have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

(Adapted from A Gradual Awakening, by Stephen Levine)


Rev. Karl VanHarnRev. Karl VanHarn is the Director of Pastoral Services and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, as well as an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church. He worked with Pine Rest CPE from 1995 to 2004, while serving as a Chaplain at Wedgwood Christian Services. He has been an ACPE Certified Educator since 1998.

He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Calvin College, a M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary and a D. Min. from Western Theological Seminary.

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