“Overcoming Holiday Stress”
We are fast approaching what is supposed to be a joyous time of the year. The winter holidays filled with laughter, good times, good friends, family and good cheer. Can you just feel the joy and hear the holiday music?
As I’ve been talking to folks lately, I haven’t heard as much excitement about the holidays as I usually do. There seems to be a lot of folks who are stressed. Rather than a joyful time of year, this seems to be a stressful time of year. Stress from time pressures at home and at work. Stress from financial pressures. Stress from the high expectations of others. They seem to need more TIME! Time to get things done.
There may be an overfocus or overemphasis on things. Have we lost focus on what’s really important in our lives? in our careers? What really is important?
I have often quoted one of my favorite books, The Greatest Salesman in the World, and there is a paragraph in there that says:
Will my concern for this day not seem foolish ten years hence? Why should I permit the petty happenings of today to disturb me? What can take place before this sun sets which will not seem insignificant in the river of centuries?
Our minds tend to overvalue some of life’s little things. We have mental perspectives which aren’t the clearest. From these perspectives, we see the long shadow of an ant and believe and act as if it is a huge, scary monster. Especially in times of stress our minds tend to use these constricted perspectives and our constricted perspectives strangle the joy causing more stress. It’s a vicious cycle. The good news is that you have control. You can choose to act from your broad perspectives (once you know what those are).
Have you ever asked “Why did I do that?” or “What was I thinking?” Sometimes it’s a rhetorical question, but I want to encourage you to try to answer it. You’ve asked the question because your mind has the ability to consider multiple perspectives. Use your ability to answer it!
Now some of your mind’s perspectives see broadly while others see more narrow. The VQ Profile can help you identify these valuing habits/perspectives of yours. Give it a try. In the meantime, here’s one perspective that can help you immediately…
Over this holiday season remember these 4 words: “This too shall pass.” These four words will carry you through any stressful situation and any adversity. All things of the world will indeed pass. So, let’s focus on making memories that matter rather than on the little things that pass.
Here are a few tips to further reduce your stress:
- Be present. Attend to what is directly in front of you in this moment. In truth, now is the only time that you have. Don’t get caught up in the fears of the mind that take you to the past or into the unknown future. They come from those narrow, constricted perspectives. Rather than focusing on expectations, focus on “what is” and the lives that are immediately before you.
- Be genuine. Don’t focus on yourself. Be genuinely interested in others. Step into their world, try on their shoes, look through their eyes, and feel with their heart. This may lead you to find a new perspective that relieves some of your stress.
- Be generous with your time, your attention and your presence. Listen more than you speak. You will be seen as a great conversationalist if you ask good questions and allow others to answer them. This can actually reduce your stress because you won’t have to be pretending or impressing those around you. You can simply be genuinely interested and actively listening.
- Be open. Open your heart. So often we open our presents, open our homes, and open our refrigerators, yet we forget to open our hearts. We often see others as human doings and only appreciate them for what they’ve done lately. Try seeing them as human beings, dare I say, human hearts and souls. This will also reduce stress and time pressures.
- Be meaningful. Make meaning-filled memories that matter. Focus on adding and creating value with this precious gift of today. Take a moment and look back on all aspects of your life. What has touched you the most personally? What has mattered the most in your career? Has your life changed forever because of an awesome or an awful turkey dinner? Or, has your life changed because of the love and connections that have occurred when human souls choose to focus on what matters most?
- Be grateful. Sometimes this is hard to do when you are feeling the stress of time, money, and expectations. Yet, you did wake up on the green side of the grass today. Give thanks for not only what you have, but who you are. You are a rare, unique creation and there is value in all rarity.
From these six perspectives, you have the ability to make a difference in the life of another human being. Try one of them today! One thing that you may discover is that not only did you lessen stress for those around you but you also impacted the life of another human soul… your own.
Best wishes for a joyful, peaceful, love-ful holiday season!