Holiday Stress comes in many forms: too much to do, conflicting schedules, unrealistic expectations, trying to do too much, people pleasing, relationships and on and on!
Tis the season‚ children caroling in the snow, families gathered round the hearth, visions of sugarplums dance in your head. Or do they?
Inner Images and Outer Realities Clash to Produce Holiday Stress
What if your images are less Currier and Ives and more Dali-esque? What if your experience of this season falls far short of what is “supposed to be”? That can leave you even more bereft than the original Scrooge dialogue running rampant in your interior!
We often experience our feelings as missiles from a malevolent universe, or totally caused by another person, place or thing. This position leaves us powerless and unable to take charge of our own inner landscape.
When you are feeling down, discouraged or sad, that little piece of knowledge falls of being helpful. And if you are a normal functioning human being you just may have some intense reactions to the messenger who tries to “help” you with this kind of reminder! BUT, if you were down and now you are angry, that actually can be a good thing! Why? Because when you are down, sad, despondent etc. your energy is frozen, depleted or inaccessible and the anger is a sign that something has shifted, opened up, or thawed out. Anger can be a very positive and motivating emotion at times.
Holiday Stress Can be Helped Through Awareness of the Frequencies of Emotions Empowers Emotional Intelligence
Emotions influence and impact our health and well-being in a big way. Esther and Jerry Hicks describe an emotional scale in their book, Ask and It Is Given (Hay House, 2004). Feelings such as fear, grief, depression and despair are low on both emotional scales. Anger calibrates higher than blame. Thus if you are blaming people for your situation and you can shift into feelings of anger, you’re improving!
During the holidays you may simply feel overwhelmed with all that you have to do. Try to consciously shift your feelings and let yourself feel frustration, irritation or impatience. You’ll have moved up the emotional scale and can use the increased energy to move you even further upward.
If you are feeling pessimistic or even bored, thinking of a time when you were content, hopeful or even optimistic will lift your spirits. Remember the situation and try to get into that feeling state. What was happening and how did you really feel?
Being Mindfully in the Moment Helps Generate Positive Feeling
If you’re already feeling optimistic, you’re doing great! You can move into an even stronger emotional state by being enthusiastic about what you’re doing, being eager and happy. Passion is stronger than happiness. As you discover your passion, you’ll most likely follow it by feelings of joy, empowerment, love and appreciation.
This brings us to another point that can be trouble. Sometimes we want to move from one end of the spectrum to the other, E.G. from sad and despondent to joyous and ecstatic. This is not likely to happen all at once, and of course that only adds frustration, inadequacy and feelings of powerlessness to the equation. Does this give you an idea of how emotional spirals grow? Whatever you are thinking and feeling takes precedence!
One way to move out of a slump is to acknowledge your feelings, really feel them without holding on to them. It takes practice to be present with emotion and allow space for them to move through you.
Holiday Stress: a Means to Learn how to Shift Out of Low Energy States
The next step is to see what is possible in terms of moving up the ladder of feeling. Don’t try to leap to joy or bliss but ask what feeling could I now realistically conjure up through memories, images, or fantasies? A slightly better feeling is all that is needed to help you shift into a better frame of mind. In fact, if you can get yourself into a better feeling state and stay there for as little as 17 seconds several times a day, you’ll be making progress.
This shifting out of difficult emotions is made easier if you have a meditation practice and have some experience with releasing tight, constricted states. Our recordings can help…..two in particular that help in this regard are: Relaxation 101 and Letting Go: The Heart of Healing. You can learn more here about them: http://karenkallie.com/shop-2/