Stress-Busters for the Holidays

the Grinch

Here they come, ready or not!  The Holidays!  Oh, my!  All those lights, all that music!  Feasts and gifts galore.  And sneaking right in with them, like that mean old Grinch, comes the pressure and stress.  Well, never fear.  I have three stress-busters for you that are guaranteed Grinch-slayers.

  1. The Movie Scene

Every now and then, imagine you’re watching yourself as if you were the main character in a movie.  Imagine feeling what the character is feeling: happiness, frustration, involvement, excitement, dread, anticipation—whatever is real for you at the moment.  Imagine heart-felt appreciation and understanding for the character.  Then zoom out a bit and notice all the circumstances and how the character is doing his or her best—whether things are working out beautifully or totally falling apart.  Extend your love to him or her.  Imagine giving that character-version of you a hug.

Do try this.  You can practice it right now.  See yourself wherever you are, reading this email, feeling whatever you’re feeling.  Appreciate who you are right now, in this very moment.  Give yourself a hug.

  1. The Easy Tool

Whenever you find yourself facing a challenge—visiting the family, performing for an audience, getting all your preparations done, finding the right outfit—ask yourself “How easy can I let this be?”

It’s a magical question.  It reminds you that can let it be easy.  You can focus your attention on this one moment, and breathe, and then take the immediate next step into the next moment and the next, one at a time, and each one can be as easy as you’re willing to let it be.

  1. The Only Expectation

You never know how things are going to turn out.  You may think you do.  We all project our past experiences onto our futures and expect repeat performances.  Then we tend to act in ways that make our predictions come true.

But what if you didn’t?  What if you decided in advance how you wanted something to turn out?  What if you could hold an open space in your mind for the idea that everything might turn out beautifully?  What if you set up an expectation that you would be at ease, and gracious, and kind, and patient, and loving?  What if you expected to see and enjoy the good things in the people you encountered?  What if you expected to do everything you needed to do easily and remarkably well?

As you approach an event, think about how you would like to be in it.  Pick a key word or two to symbolize what you think would be the best you in that situation.  Then let that be your only expectation.

Putting It to Work

To make these tools work for you, try this:  Hold up one finger and say “The Movie Scene.”  Then raise a second finger while you say, “The Easy Tool,” and a third finger while you say, “The Only Expectation.  Do it a few times and then practice it a few times throughout the day for the next couple of days.  Then, when you’re feeling stressed or challenged, remember that magic is as easy as 1-2-3.

Wishing you Grinch-free holidays, full of love, and joy, and good cheer.

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