You have the best intentions in the world for this holiday season to be happy, peaceful, and relaxing. But lo and behold, at the office Christmas party, a coworker publicly outs your lackluster performance this quarter. Your aunt sloppily comes on to your new boyfriend at your family holiday gathering, while also regaling him with your embarrassing childhood highlights reel. Or you might just be pulled in all directions the entire month of December, feeling the seasonal festive spirit draining from you because you’ve been on holiday obligations overdrive.
Whatever it is that’s causing you more stress (ho-ho-hum!) than good tidings, here are three ways to turn around the Bah Humbug Train and hop on the Peace On Earth Express. Because it truly begins with you. Getting right with you means calming your nervous system, resetting when you’re triggered, and self-soothing when someone says the wrong thing (they will) or when things don’t go as planned in the heightened expectation of the holidays (they won’t). We can face anything with grace and equanimity when we’re centered. Learn and practice any of these techniques ahead of time, or press play when you feel your blood pressure rising in the moment.
Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique - EFT)
Tapping is a powerful tool to shift your mindset in a jiffy while your distress is underway. Tapping is a combination of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. It involves using your fingertips to stimulate nine specific acupressure points on your body, while keeping your mind on the negative emotion. This stimulates the body’s meridians, increasing energy flow to heal the energy blocks/stress responses as they arise, teaching the body to respond with calm rather than stress when faced with a negative experience. The video below is perfect to use when you feel triggered by someone else’s behavior or you’ve had a disagreement. If you’re interested in doing more of these meditations, head over to thetappingsolutionapp.com.
This Vipassana meditation is wonderfully effective in bringing you into the present moment by focusing on the breath, allowing thoughts to come and go, while continually keeping the attention on your breathing. It’s simple and easy to follow along with. It calms the mind and the emotional body when you’re triggered or dysregulated. And by practicing this technique regularly, you’ll increase your capacity to stay present in your life and attentive to what’s unfolding, even in the face of full-blown distractions. When those powerful emotions or negative compulsive thoughts race, you’ll be able to observe them, rather than react to them. Over time, you’ll learn to choose your reactions consciously, rather than be controlled by perceptions and unconscious conditioning. That’s true power in the face of life’s turbulence.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This is an ancient Indian technique of controlling the breath to trigger a state of mental relaxation. It also promises some welcome energetic balance and clarity. The practice is done by taking nice long, deep breaths and switching back and forth between the right and left nostrils, with specific fingers. It will quickly move you into a calm state of being during in a moment of duress, as well as balance your hormones, alleviate allergies, release toxins, regulate the nervous system, clear respiratory channels, and balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It basically whips you into shape on so many levels, aligning you to your best self in any circumstance the holidays throw your way.