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How To Thrive With Holiday Stress


Holiday Stress.

We’re in the realm of immediate gratification this month. Why? Because we’re in the midst of holiday season. Nothing like overloaded calendars, crazed shoppers, and demanding family members to summon the need for instant relief.

So before you reach for the TV remote, a bag of chips, or a glass of wine to check out, I’m going to encourage you to check IN and ask yourself just this one thing: what am I resisting right this moment?

Do this every time you catch yourself feeling any emotion that isn’t pleasant.

The ONLY reason you feel less than great is because you’ve got resistance going on. You could be resisting a person, a situation, a thwarted expectation, an emotion, or even the weather. But the fact is – you don’t feel good because you’re resisting what is in this very moment.

I talk about resistance a lot.

Resistance is a necessary part of life. Resistance is what grows our strength – without something to push against we wouldn’t build muscle. Resistance is fundamental, AND it’s the sole reason we are stressed out.

So we’re not going to attempt to ban opposition from our life, we just want to learn to collaborate with it. When we do this, we can feel good immediately.

Collaborating with resistance isn’t as daunting as it may sound. Here are two tricks to try out.

1st Trick: Shift Your Focus.

As adults, we’ve gotten really good at withstanding a lot of negative emotion, more than I think is healthy. Many of us are calibrated to a low set-point, thus, we have a difficult time even acknowledging that we feel less than great. Sadly, this unintended resignation becomes a way of life. So check in and notice what you feel this very moment. Disinterest? Malaise? Lethargy? Disappointment? Boredom? Confusion?

If your baseline feeling is interest or better, then you need no relief! Keep feeling good. 🙂

But if you feel uncomfortable in any way, then pinpoint what you’re resisting right this very second. Sometimes this is enough to provide all the relief you need. Many times, simply acknowledging exactly what you’re resisting is enough to drop it (because you suddenly recognize the futility in it).

If not, then immediately shift your focus to something that FEELS GOOD.

What you feel is a result of the thoughts you focus on. You have the incredible ability to choose your focus. So change the subject and think of something that lessens the resistance you’re sustaining. Think of something that makes you smile and keep your attention there for a while and see where this new thought train takes you.

If you stay diligent in your focus, you’ll find that within 10 minutes you’ll be in a much better mood. Don’t forget to smile while you’re at it. Yeah, you may feel a little silly but it works.

2nd Trick: Refuse To Get Annoyed For An Entire Day.

This is a great meaningful exercise to use during the holidays – intend to not get miffed for the whole day. I offer “day” because it’s manageable. If I were to say a month or even a week, notice how you already feel exhausted. It sounds like a daunting amount of work. So instead let’s focus on a day.

Ok, now can you imagine what it would feel like if your entire day went smoothly? No upsets, irritation, or impatience? What would be possible for you and your life’s vision if everyday felt like that?

Do this for a day, and then another, and then another. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and soon smooth sailing becomes a way of life.

How do we do it? During this annoyance-free day we strip away all assumptions and inferences. Simply observe and interact with the events in your day as events, not things we judge as right or wrong or good or bad. We interact with all moments with no resistance.

If there is the potential to get annoyed, rip away the story you overlay and deal with the person/situation/circumstance without interpretation. You’ll objectively deal with what’s at hand rather than bring negative energy to it. By removing the interpretation, you remove the resistance. Without resistance, peace results.

And there you have it. You can float along this holiday season and enjoy every moment using these two tricks to keep you from dipping down into too much negativity. Be diligent with your focus and approach each day with the intention to be unflappable. Collaborate with resistance and watch how feeling good becomes your new set-point.

Try this out for the rest of December and see what shifts occur. If you get some momentum going with these practices and want to take it further, contact me to find out how we can deepen your experience of living on purpose.

And I’d love to know your strategies for staying positive during holiday stress. Leave a comment and tell me how you both survive and thrive during the holiday season. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.