Do you feel like you’re in crisis mode during the holidays? Do you face the holiday season with anticipation or anxiety? For many people, the holiday season means dealing with the top 5 holiday stress factors:

Lack of Self-Care
Difficult Relationships
Limited Money
Weight Issues
Stress is probably not what you think it is. Situations are what they are. People are who they are. Stress arises from what we think about a situation or a person. And what we think about something controls what we feel about it. If you can change what you think about something, you can change your stress level.

Your brain is where your mind resides. It controls every aspect of your life, including all your perceptions of the world in which you live. Your brain controls your body functions, how you react to different situations, what you remember, and your emotions. Learning to control the primal part of the brain where fear and anxiety, stress, resides is important to dealing with difficult situations.

Feelings don’t arise from nowhere. They are controlled by your thoughts even when those thoughts are fleeting or subconscious. When you become overwhelmed with the thought of shopping, cooking, entertaining or being alone during the holiday season, it’s like opening the lid of Pandora’s box1 because your brain will take the most familiar pathway. One worried thought builds into a cascade of negativity over which we feel powerless to change.

In 2008, The History Channel produced a documentary called, The Brain. It was a simple explanation of recent discoveries of how the brain functions. One segment of the documentary showed how the Navy Seals used a simple four step process to control their fear response during the most grueling training.

set right-sized goals.
positive self-talk*
arousal control
Sure, you’re not trying to pass a frightening underwater competency test but your brain reacts to any fear in the same way at a lesser level. Stress and anxiety are fear. When anxiety builds over problems of relationships, money, self-care, or loneliness your brain causes the same release of stress hormones as it would if you were in a life threatening situation. The difference is that release of ends up being a slow steady drip that over time erodes your self-confidence and colors everything in your world until your thinking and your feelings are in a negative rut.

Use this guide using the Navy Seal’s simple four step process to help you survive holiday stress:

Simple Goals – Simplify your holiday to-do list. Instead of focusing on a week away, focus on what’s next. Choose to accept invitations to parties that you want to attend. Carve out one hour a day just for you.
Mental Rehearsal – Imagine yourself crossing items off your list. See yourself just taking the next step. Visualize taking a moment to relax.
Self-Talk – Tell yourself that just have to do the next thing in front of you to do. Encourage yourself by repeating that you can do the next simple thing. Remind yourself that when you care for yourself first, you can care more for others.
Arousal Control – When you’re feeling stressed, breathe in deeply through your nose. Pause for a moment. Exhale all the way out from the back of your throat, making a “hea” sound.
By using the same simple 4 step process used by the Navy Seals to increase their passing rates, you can bring holiday stress under control. Keep your expectations simple and practice, practice, practice.

* The documentary said that we speak 300-1000 words a minute to ourselves.

Enigma Wellness, Resources for Life Recovery

Pixie Stevenson is a life recovery coach who shows women how to discover their personal power in times of change or crisis. Pixie uniquely combines coaching, personal development, energy psychology, and spiritual principles to help her clients overcome and release their core issues to create new openings for success.

By yanam49

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