Coping with Stress during the holidays
For most of us, the holiday season is a time when family gathers together and in most circumstances, without even realizing it we fall right back into our old family dynamics that were created years ago. We slip back into our default personalities that originated in childhood as our old habits and behaviors begin to arise.
It just happens... We get easily triggered; all it takes is one familiar comment from the sister who knows just how to push our buttons or the parent we sense is criticizing us or the Uncle that we have always felt judged by. Before we know it, there we are back in that same old familiar situation. We find ourselves on auto-pilot; we just react without giving any thought to what we are doing or how we are behaving. We are swept right into the family drama and we begin to feel stress and anxiety building in our body and mind. Our body begins to feel tense and tight as our mind begins to race and we instantly become reactive and defense.
The good news is we have a choice to change this and move out of this old familiar dynamic. The first step in creating this shift is recognizing that it exists and acknowledging it. By acknowledging the reality of the situation we can make a conscious choice to change how we behave. Once we recognize the reality of the situation we must have willingness, a desire to want to change and acknowledge that it begins with changing ourselves. We must take responsibility for our action and behaviors. It is up to us to do something different, to break out of the dynamic and create a shift.
Here are 5 basic tips to help you create a shift in the moment:
- Hit the PAUSE Button – Just like on a remote control, you want to PAUSE. By pausing you give yourself the opportunity to recognize you are caught up in the situation and reacting to the circumstances.
- Take a BREATH - Focus on your breath for a moment. By doing this you are breaking the pattern. This simply activity can help you to relax and then determine what you want to do next.
- Ground yourself. Being grounded means being fully present: physically, emotionally and energetically. Your mind is not wandering and it gives you a greater sense of clarity. (stay tuned for tips on How to be Grounded)
- Take a mini holiday: Close your eyes and picture a situation or place that feels peaceful and rejuvenating. Engage all of your senses and enjoy the moment.
- Set Your Intention- Now that you have taken time to shift out of the situation and are present to the moment, check in and ask yourself, “what is my intention, what do I chose to do, how do I chose to be?” Setting an intention makes your choice concrete.
Once you have a clear intention, go forth and create what you want. Each time you find yourself reacting to a situation or feeling triggered, return to these 5 basic steps.
It is important to acknowledge that you can only change yourself and... it happens one step at a time. The more you practice, the more natural it will become. It takes commitment, desire and practice, but Shift Happens.