In this video from Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp welcome Motley Fool Chief Wellness Officer Sam Whiteside to the show, as she offers her best advice on how to make it through the holiday season with a focus on your health.

Her fourth tip can make a big difference to your mental state, which is directly connected to your physical well-being. Just a little meditation will go a long way toward improving both, and it is not nearly as hard as you might think.

A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on Nov. 22, 2016.

Robert Brokamp: Everyone in my family has opinions on how to cook the turkey and fix our economy. I'm so stressed.

[Door closes]

Alison Southwick: Yeah, so stressed. I'm actually pretty lucky that my holidays are usually pretty stress-free, but for other people like old Bro, over here ...

Brokamp: I think this holiday season will be very interesting, given the recent election, for people who come from mixed political families like I do. So it will be interesting.

Sam Whiteside: It will be interesting. So a great way, and an easy way, and a way that will not take very much of your time to make sure that you're handling, managing, decreasing your stress is the "M" word, meditation. The "M" word ...

Brokamp: The "M" word ...

Whiteside: Some people are so scared of meditation. You'll be so surprised. Or they think, "Oh, gosh. That's not for me. I can't do that." Or, "That's too left field." The idea of meditation is simply to find a quiet space and to try and put more time in between the thoughts that come through your mind.

It's not about doing yoga, or standing on your head, or having a certain pose, or being completely quiet and having no thoughts come in. It's basically trying to put more space in between the thoughts that come through your brain. Because we're humans, our brains are consistently trying to create stories around things that come through, and it's basically just trying to decrease that. [To] give yourself more quiet space in your brain.

There's some really great apps out there. Some free ones. Calm, Headspace, Omvana, Take a Break, and Smiling Mind are some of the top free apps out there. Some cheap ones are Buddhify and Simply Being. And with each of these apps you can go anywhere from five minutes to 45 or 60 minutes of meditation. You can play with the music. Different themes. There can be guided imagery. An easy way to make sure that you're taking care of yourself and decreasing that stress.

Southwick: So what does that mean, though? I think when people think of meditation, they think of someone sitting in the lotus position. Is that what it's called? And just being like, "Ohhmmm."

Whiteside: Right.

Southwick: While incense is wafting through, and chimes, and stuff like that.

Brokamp: Boomm ...

Southwick: So what are you going to get from one of these apps? What is this app going to ask me to do? Because if there's some funky mind control in there by some tech company... And yes, maybe I got these conspiracy theories from watching Westworld, but ...

Brokamp: Pull out your credit card ...

Southwick: What's going to happen when I use one of these apps?

Whiteside: That's the great thing about all the apps that I mentioned. There's a lot of different variability that you can play with. You can play with different music or the different sounds. Or having someone speak to you. Or, "No, I don't want to listen to anyone talk right now. I just want to listen to some waves crashing on the beach." And so you definitely have all of those choices with all of those apps that I just mentioned.

Brokamp: In a previous episode I mentioned the Beck Diet Solution, which is based on cognitive therapy ... basically how you think affects how you act, and one of the premises of the book is we have all these permission-giving thoughts about eating when we know we shouldn't, and I think stress is a big part of that. I'm very stressed. I know I shouldn't eat this, but I'm so stressed I'm going to go ahead ...

Whiteside: Exactly.

Brokamp: ... and eat this, or I need that drink because I'm so stressed.

Whiteside: Right. We place a link between those things, and there should be no link. Don't give yourself an excuse to have two brownies just because you're stressed out. If you're stressed out, find a different coping mechanism. Find a positive one that's going to impact you in a positive way.

Southwick: I'm currently in the process of trying to link running and destressing.

Brokamp: It will work, too.

Southwick: It does work. I just have to keep reminding myself that I will feel better, and I will feel less stressed if I go run for a little bit.

Whiteside: Right.

Southwick: But it's like reprogramming myself.

Whiteside: Right. And as a Western culture, we associate food with happiness and food with decreasing stress. Or food as a gift. Those are things in our culture I see we can probably work on. It definitely plays a huge role in a family unit. Every time that you get together with your girlfriends, or you have a big family outing, we all eat, or drink, or eat and drink a lot. That's something that provides a lot of joy, but you can find joy in other ways.

Southwick: Make it a sometimes. Sometimes food.

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