How to Avoid Holiday Stress

If you have been following this site or read the book Living from Your Heart you will understand how important it is to practice your Essence Journey especially during the holidays.   The holidays often add stress, anxiety, and a wide range of emotions. To eliminate these feelings, stop doing some behaviors that are precursors to the stress and so on.

The behaviors that you need to stop doing to avoid holiday stress, and permanent stress if you have the commitment, are Wanting, Holding, Assuming, and Monitoring. I will talk about these four behaviors in this article. Most importantly, all four of these behaviors are fine as long as they do not cause pain or suffering to you or anyone else.

Wanting – This is a behavior to stop when you want an item, want something to happen, or want something not to happen and pain and suffering happens if it doesn’t happen. Here are some examples of wanting that needs to stop. Paul wants a promotion at his job. He has been counting on it for months and has already planned what he will do with the increase in pay. Paul did not get the promotion and he was devastated. He became depressed, angry, and was snapping at his colleagues. He felt that his manager didn’t like him and that’s why he didn’t get the promotion. He felt pain in his stomach and his neck. Paul has wanted that promotion too much and when it didn’t occur he felt such pain and so did others that he was around. In order for Paul, or anyone, to stop a wanting that causes pain and suffering he must recognize that he is doing that behavior. He is wanting something to happen to the point that his life will be affected poorly if he doesn’t get that to happen. Next, is for Paul to stop wanting that behavior to happen so badly.

Meredith wanted everyone to celebrate the holidays at her house because she just finished all the renovations. Several family members have made other plans and will not be at her house. Meredith became sad, angry, and felt rejected. She felt pain in her heart area and her lower back. Her anger caused tension within the family and there were a few verbal arguments around this topic. Meredith’s wanting the celebration to be at her house was unhealthy. It would have been best if she noticed her unhealthy wanting and stopped it before it became such a problem.

Holding – Holding is another behavior that can cause pain and suffering when you are holding on to something or someone so rigidly that if you have to let go you will feel pain and suffering. Holding during the holidays is a common occurrence. For example, Ruth holds tightly to traditions that no one wants to participate. Her family always opened one gift on Christmas Eve. Now that her son is married and has a child they don’t do that tradition. They just wait and open all the gifts on Christmas. She is feeling lots of pain and suffering because it’s not going to happen. Ruth felt lots of pain in her heart area and her family was suffering because she was angry and disappointed and not very nice.

Assuming – Assuming can cause pain and suffering. When someone assumes something they are making it up. There is no truth to assumptions. An assumption is something made up that may happen in the future. For example, Edith assumes that her son will have a bad future if he doesn’t go to college. They have both been arguing because he wants to do something else for a few years after high school and she wants him to immediately go to college. She keeps telling him that he will never get a good job or have a financial, comfortable future without a college degree. Their arguing is causing both of them pain. The fact is, neither one of them know if that is true or not. All they know is that is Edith’s opinion. So, for the holidays, stay away from making assumptions about anything or anyone. It’s not true and definitely not worth it. In fact, stop making assumptions all together.

Monitoring – The final behavior to stop if you want to live a happier and more compassionate life especially during the holidays is monitoring. I’m sure you all know someone who is that nosy neighbor or friend who always knows what everyone is doing because he is watching and monitoring. If you look at your daily behaviors you may notice that you monitor, as well.

Jonathan has a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend. However, he notices how so many of the men look at her. He kept monitoring who was looking at her at the store, at the restaurant, at the movies and so on. It was making him angry and uncomfortable. He felt pain in his jaw, his neck was tight and his heart area hurt. Jennifer, his girlfriend, was feeling pain because he kept complaining about all the boys who look and smile at her and she couldn’t do anything about it. Monitoring can cause lots of pain and suffering when the person who is monitoring doesn’t like what they are seeing.

Peter has 6 other brothers. It is Christmas day and as they are opening their gifts he is monitoring what each brother receives to make sure he gets the best of gifts or at least equal to what his brothers get. This year they all got different gifts and some received 2 and 3 gifts. There was no big gift. This was frustrating for Peter because instead of enjoying the moment he was busy monitoring each and every gift that was being opened. This was a painful and suffering time for him. If he wasn’t monitoring everything he could have enjoyed the moments and the gifts.

In conclusion, if we can catch ourselves when we begin wanting, holding, assuming, and monitoring and STOP doing them our lives can be lighter, happier, and much more compassionate.

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