Monday, November 19, 2012

Mimi Donaldson Offers Holiday Stress Busting Tips

Hello Friends,

Here it comes again--the season of giving AND receiving. You know how you'll be "receiving" some family and friend obligations you never receive except during the two months ahead? Once you CHOOSE to receive, you now get to choose your attitude and behavior. In my book, Bless Your Stress: It Means You're Still Alive! I define "bless": to redirect the force of your energy so that you affirm your existence and embrace the whole of your life. This establishes the foundations of your own happiness. Yeah...but NOW, in THIS economy? And with THAT family coming over? Well here are 4 tips to improve your ability to focus on what matters:

1. Check your mental baggage.
We all have memories from past holidays. A lot of us haul around a hefty load of stress connected to the holidays of the past. According to Mental Health America, "memories" account for close to 50% of all the sources of holiday stress. The problem is we don't realize it. Remember after that one run-in with your mother-in-law, you vowed to never cook a green bean casserole dish again for the family dinner, yet here you are en route...with yet another covered dish and a sour mood. And some of our New Year's Eve memories aren't as magical and joyous as the '40s movies portray. Imagine having a mandatory Stress Security Check Points Mental Detector (I don't mean "metal"). Imagine being scanned with an Attitude Wand (like the ones they use in airports), only these wands would check for what's weighing down your mind. Then, you can't take it with you!

2. Tap into your Personal Control Panel.
Your "Personal Control Panel" controls what happens in your mind. Remember to push "Play" but skip the "Fast Forward" because, as Gandhi famously said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed." Also, "Fast Forward" can lead to self-fulfilling prophecy scenarios in your head, "Oh I know what's going to happen: I'll buy too much food; I'll buy too little food; the store will run out of food." Make full use of the "Pause Button," meaning to take a deep breath and take stock before letting a stress trigger make you go nuts.

3. Practice the fine art of patience.
Another key element of blessing your stress is to practice "wait lifting," or the ability to wait and have patience in today's 24/7, frenetic "now" culture. Patience is how you handle the wait of the world. By starting with the light waits--the computer doesn't boot up fast enough or the traffic light takes too long to change--you can work up to medium and heavy waits.

4. Make full use of your "Internal Whistle."
This means what it means in football. To stop the action, the whistle blows. We need to take a deep breath and take stock before letting a stress trigger or a whiney nephew make you go nuts and say something you'll regret.

At the end of the day, and holiday, it comes down to cultivating the rare quality of perspective. Bring a "light take" on stress, so at least the stress doesn't last long. During the holidays, besides decking the halls, be sure to play the deck you're dealt and find your trump card. It may be that you are still alive to celebrate. Remember: there are at least 10 ways your holiday table with those people is better than a hospital bed. Trust me, I know. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. So have a merry month ahead, and get into the New Year's spirit.

*For the full-length version of this article, check out my blog post.

Want more Bless Your Stress? Purchase the book on my website!

Mimi Donaldson
(310) 577-0229

My Blog site!
"Talk is cheap. . .real communication--priceless."

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