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By Christina Winholt

RELIVE YOUR VACATION BY PRACTICING BEING IN THE MOMENT AND FOCUSING ON THE SENSES: Grimaud (above) a town in the south of France. Photo by Christina Winholt.

Do you want to take your vacation twice? How about a dozen times? Is it possible to relive your vacation as many times as you would like if you practice being in the moment while you are laying by the pool, hiking your favorite mountain, or seeing the sights? One of the best ways to anchor your vacation experience is to focus on the senses. This exercise can begin as soon as you book your trip. Start savoring the anticipation of the trip. There is nothing wrong with cultivating that good happy feeling of positive anticipation and excitement. Use the mindful attitude of letting go to stay away from building up too many expectations for your trip.

Once your vacation begins, go with the flow. Changes in itinerary are a natural part of travel, as natural as breathing is to meditation. If your plans get sidetracked because of flight delays or weather, let go and enjoy the adventure. Be curious about what is happening around you even if you are stuck in an airport. You might be pleasantly surprised by connecting with a fellow traveler or just by people watching. By practicing letting go in these situations you open up to new experiences—warding off negative mood states and staying open to positive possibilities.

Most importantly, when you do find yourself on that beautiful beach at sunset, or in a canoe, or even enjoying a summer barbeque in your back yard with friends, use all of your senses to anchor the experience in your long-term memory. By doing this you will easily be able to recall the pleasant experience when you need a mental boost, like when life gets hectic again in the fall, or when you are back in school, or next January during a snowstorm.

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