Reduce Holiday Stress-Try this

Reduce Holiday Stress-Try this

Holidays can be an opportunity to spend quality time with family, appreciate our blessings and celebrate life.  The holidays can also aggravate stress, fatigue and depression. 

While we can be grateful to have time with loved ones, the holidays may bring up feelings of grief related to family and friends separated by distance or death.  Challenging relationships or circumstances, travel, and financial concerns can also trigger emotions that make the holiday season a mixed bag of joy and sorrow.

Choose to control your emotions through simple actions. While emotions are instantaneous reactions to our perceptions of a situation., it is a choice how long we will experience these emotion. 

This holiday season, commit to practicing strategies to keep your holidays in the joy zone. 

  • Be mindful and in control of your emotions.
    Acknowledge your feelings but choose not to ruminate on negative emotions.  Envision your mind as a radio station.  If you find yourself focused on negative thoughts, change the station.  Practice shifting your thoughts to positive memories or refocus your attention to something pleasant.  Changing your thoughts can be as simple as changing a radio channel. 

  • Be an observer.
    Be an observer in the room at holiday events.  Observe communication, social interactions or family dynamics.  Choose to be non-reactive, observe, and learn. 
    Observing stressful environments helps us realize that we are not forced to feel or react in any preset manner.  Shakespeare stated "All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players with exits and entrances".
    Choose your role as an observer and experience being in the audience for a change.

  • Step away and breathe.
    Research proves that controlled breathing changes the physical and emotional state of the body. Take a moment to yourself and breathe deeply for five to ten minutes.  Listen to relaxing music or close your eyes for a short period.  Give your mind a moment to recharge so being present and relaxed is easier.

  • Focus on the positive.
    Too often we allow ourselves to be caught up in negativity or other’s emotions/actions. This year, look at what is good and joyful in the room.  We are responsible for our own happiness.  Acknowledge the positive in the room and choose to be part of it.

  • Practice the art of forgiveness.
    Holding onto to past hurts negatively impacts us mentally and physically.  Learn to forgive or accept others as they are. Acceptance of others allows us the freedom to be who we are.  Focus on what is positive and possible.  Forgiving others helps us forgive ourselves for our own imperfections.

  • Embrace generosity.
    The act of giving is a most effective tool in changing our mood.  Generosity is not about monetary exchanges.  Each day this season, seek ways to be helpful and kind in your actions.  Ask a busy clerk how their day is going, hold the door open for a stranger or offer an invitation to someone who is alone for the holidays.  
    Small acts of kindness allow us to experience the true joy of giving.
  • Be a teacher.
    "The life you live is the lesson you teach".  Consider that you are modeling to others how to interact gracefully in social environments. Whether you have small children, or elderly parents, it is never too late to become the model citizen in the room.  Remember, it’s not how you come in, it’s how you go out…

Choosing actions that support positive, healthy thoughts around the holidays, make us less likely to be reactive, use substances, or behave in manners we regret. 

Every day is a great day to practice strategies for healthy living.

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