There are a million different things to be grateful for during the holidays. We get a chance to visit with family, eat great food and celebrate life together.
There are also a million different sources of stress during the holidays and if you are not prepared to let go of that stress, it can turn a celebration into a whirlwind of overwhelm. Then, before you know it the holiday is over, and you didn’t enjoy a moment of it! Which leads to resentment, judgement, guilt and regret.
In the past it has totally my habit to let stress run my life during the holidays.
NOT THIS YEAR though!
This year, I am committed to appreciating and enjoying my holiday and I am going to focus on using these 6 tools. I hope they help you as well!
(Want to watch the FB Live video on this topic? Link is HERE!)
1. Take Ten Minutes!
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.” ~ Buddha
Take ten minutes first thing in the morning to align yourself with what matters most to you. If you think you don’t have ten minutes, I’m assuring you right now that you don’t have time NOT to take ten minutes. This ten minutes at the start of your day will save you time and stress throughout the day by making you more at ease and much more productive.
Set your intention for the day. How do you want to feel today? What do you want to appreciate? What do you want to focus on?
Ask your higher self, guides, angels, the universe, God (whoever’s got your back) for help staying true to your intention and then spend the rest of the time being quiet and LISTENING.
When we take this time at the start of the day, it serves as a reminder to stop and listen during other points in your day. It also helps us to become more self-aware moment to moment, to remember to breathe more, and to focus on solutions instead of problems.
2. Make Feeling Good Top Priority!
“Feel good for the sake of feeling good, and everything will take care of itself!” - Abraham Hicks
Whenever you can, take 1-3 deep breaths and check in with how you feel. The more you check in, the faster you will catch yourself when you start feel “off”.
Notice how your thoughts are making you feel. If they are making you feel appreciative, satisfied or happy just keep looking for even more satisfying thoughts.
If your thoughts are making you feel uncomfortable or stressed, same rules apply, start looking for a slightly better feeling thought. You don’t have to go from stressed out to euphoric, just try to go from stressed out to slightly less stressed out. Then slightly less stressed to sort of calm, then to appreciative, then maybe try for feeling happy.
Give yourself permission to climb the emotional ladder one rung at a time.
3. Don’t Take It Personally!
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” - from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
This mindset changed my life, and that is not an exaggeration! I am a recovering approval addict and people pleaser. For most of my life, I over-analyzed every single word, action and gesture everyone else made, to figure out moment by moment how I should act to best gain their love and approval. BUT when I began to realize that people’s behavior had absolutely nothing to do with me, it got a lot easier to relax into being more of myself, more of the time.
You only have control of you!
I know I say this a lot, but you cannot make anyone else love you, you only have control of how much you love yourself. The fact is that you are never going to receive everyone’s approval, 100% of the time, so you might as well let go of the straining and striving to meet other people’s needs and be yourself.
The other thing that this quote really puts into perspective for me is, when we judge others it is a true mirror reflection of the things we judge most about ourselves. So, when other people judge you, just keep in mind that the judgement has nothing to do with you, it is simply a reflection of something they dislike or judge about themselves.
When we stand in this perspective, it is much easier to extend kindness and compassion towards others and ourselves.
4. In this Moment “Is there REALLY a problem?”
“Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life may be full of problems – most life situations are – but find out if you have a problem at this moment. Do you have a problem now?” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle has a wonderful perspective on problems that I have found to be super helpful! Essentially, there are NO problems in the present moment.
If you think you have a problem, simply ask yourself “Is there anything I can do to improve my situation right now?”
If the answer is yes, then you don’t have a problem, you simply have a task or a set of tasks.
If the answer is no, you don’t have a problem in the moment, you simply wait and focus on something else until there is something you can do to improve your situation.
This mindset is a big stress eliminator for me, because it helps bring me into the present moment. If you can’t do anything about a situation in the present moment, worrying about it doesn’t help anything. In fact, worry makes you even less capable of allowing a solution to pop into your head.
The other thing I do if I realize I can’t fix a problem in the present moment is surrender my worry to the universe.
I like to say to myself “Everything is always working out for me and I am open to receiving the perfect solution in perfect timing”
Bonus Quote =)
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu
5. Imagine Others As Little Children.
“I believe that this neglected, wounded, inner child of the past is the major source of human misery” ~John Bradshaw
This is a good one for when, despite your best efforts, people are starting to piss you off!
Every one of us was once an innocent little child who just wanted to be loved. Even that member of your family who is always just awful to you, was once a little boy or girl that just needed a hug. I know this sounds a little “Care Bear” -ish but seriously, it helps.
When you notice that you are taking things personally, or maybe getting a little judgmental of someone, just imagine that it is their child self is standing in front of you. That little child is lashing out because they are hurting and afraid.
What does that make you want to do?
We naturally want to offer that child love and support and a safe place to be.
This exercise show us the truth of the situation.
People hurt others because they are hurting and they are separated from the knowledge of their own true nature and infinite worthiness. This does not excuse bad behavior, but it does change the way you react to that behavior. Sending love to someone who is hurting you is NOT the same enabling them! You can send someone love and at the same time let them know that what they are doing is not right and not okay with you.
I’m not saying you have to give that person a hug (because they might not know how to accept it) and you don’t have to confront or even directly interact with that person if it doesn’t feel right for you to do so. Just practice silently sending them love from whatever distance makes you the most comfortable.
This works on you too! If you notice that you are judging yourself harshly or being unkind to yourself, picture yourself as a child deserving of nothing but loving attention!
6. Add “…And I Love That!”
“The only reason we stress is something is happening that we decided should not be happening. It is not the circumstance that is the problem. It is our resistance to it.” ~ Kyle Cease
Kyle Cease has this method of stress reduction that is all about appreciating what is happening in the moment for the potential for growth that it creates. He says that whenever we label a situation we can add “…and I love that!” to the end of it. This makes our brains strive to figure out the silver lining of the situation and how we can learn and grow from it.
For example. “The pie isn’t nearly done yet and I’m going to be super late for dinner…and I love that.”
Then the brain starts questioning “Why the hell would I love that I am going to be late for dinner?”
Then the brain starts to answer itself. If you use this as an opportunity to search for the next good feeling thought, things begin to shift.
“Well…I have to sit here and wait for the pie anyway, so I guess I could just take a moment to breathe in yummy pie smells and relax.”
“Hmmm…I really love pie!”
“Ooo, Ooo look… I’m practicing the principles of being in the present moment that I have been learning about. GO ME!”
“Thanksgiving is the best, I can’t wait to see everyone.”
“My life is awesome, I get to spend most of this day with people I love AND I get to eat pie!”
You get the idea. Breathe, focus on how you want to feel and follow the satisfying thoughts, realize that there is no problem in the present moment!
That’s all for now Loves, but I hope these tools help you this Thanksgiving, Christmas and the whole rest of your life!
(Again… if you want to watch the FB Live video on this topic? Link is HERE!)
Let me know what your favorite stress reducing tools are in the comments below. If you found this helpful, don’t forget to share in with your friends. I think everyone could use a little extra “chill” in their lives!
Sending love to you,