For many people the holiday season becomes one of the most stress filled times on the year. It used to be that way for me, but I have learned what it is about this time of the year that used to make me feel stressed out and have taken simple steps to deal with it. Read on to find out more.
What is it about this time of year that causes the increased stress levels, because, let’s face it, there is always something happening in our lives that can raise our level of stress if we let it. The holiday season brings on additional stress because of the pressure of what Christmas has become for us (or Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever your holiday may be). For the most part, it has become a commercialized season of increased buying on a budget that may not be ready for it. The onslaught of advertising, the relentless Christmas music, the ‘deals’ from the retailers, the crowds and bargain hunters, are all enough to drive our stress levels through the roof.
There are ways to deal with this. First of all, if you are creative, make presents. They are usually way more personal and welcomed. If that isn’t an answer, then one approach that works in my family is to have everyone pick one person to give a gift to, and have a limit of say $25 to spend. That alleviates the stress of finding affordable gifts for everyone in the family. I talk to more and more people who are doing this with their families.
Well, speaking of families, I may have hit on the biggest source of stress for most people. If you are one of the minority who has a well-adjusted, easy to be with family, then you should count your blessings. Most people have a very stressful family dynamic that is magnified during the holidays due to all of the expectations that accompany the pending family gatherings. Finding a well adjusted, happy, even keeled, caring and giving person who was brought up with unconditional love is a rare and magnificent treat, and if you are single and meet this person – MARRY THEM!
The relief from the stress of this family dynamic begins with ourselves. There is a little voice inside of our heads that is constantly describing the world around us using the symbols that we have learned since we were born. They are more than just words, but they are formulated in our minds by using words. The little voice passes judgement on our own worth based on what we have been told by our parents, friends, lovers, and total strangers. It is what the little voice concentrates on that leads us down the path of self-recrimination, which leads to stress.
It takes a lot of time to learn to silence the little voice within. It is the voice of our ego, the voice of The Judge. It is not a helpful voice. We, as humans, feel compelled to name everything, and to attach symbols to everything. So we naturally speak to ourselves about everything that is coming our way as stimulai to our senses as The Judge. It is so inherent to our way of being that you might not even be aware of doing it. Next time that you are feeling stress causing your heart to pound and your head to reel, just take a moment to stop and examine what your little voice is yelling at you in your head. You are going to find out that it is the thoughts that you are listening to in your head that are actually causing the stress.
So the next question is, “How do I stop this from happening?” That is exactly the right thing to do, ask yourself questions. “How can I find the fun in this?” “What do I appreciate the most about this?” You can also just say “STOP”. It is amazing how well that works. One way to stop the inner voice, for however long a period of time as you can muster, is to play music in your head. Not songs, because they have words, and it is words that you are trying to stop. Just music. Play back a favorite instrumental piece in your head. Bach? Beethoven? Mozart anyone?
There are other ways to stop the inner voice, but the best way to deal with this alien in our brain is to question the validity of what it has to say. It may sound funny, because it is your own voice after all, but if it is your own voice speaking, then who is listening? We have two voices in our being, one that is describing the world around us through the artistry of the filter; the non-reality; the liar (to put it bluntly). The other voice is the positive, self-reinforcing voice from the heart, but it is usually overpowered by the incessant blabbering of the The Judge. By asking yourself things such as, “Why do I need to cause myself stress over this situation?” or, “What can I think of that is relaxing and wonderful?” you can redirect your thoughts to a better place; a higher level of energy. Through this you can build your self-love, your self-esteem, your spirit, and you can become closer to God.
Now, by questioning the validity of the inner dialog, you can face the stressful events, the family gatherings, the gift shopping, the unfinished work, and feel at ease. This is how to raise your vibrational level. It is important to note that a lie requires belief in it to persist, while the truth persists whether you believe in it or not. Find your inner truth. Inside, we are all beautiful and lovable beings. It begins inside. How can you love someone else, or let someone love you, when you don’t love yourself? You can start here and now. Have a great, stress-free holiday season!