Updated: Dec 3, 2018
Most people expect the holidays to bring them joy and happiness. Usually there are big meals, gift giving and celebrating. Stress is often a big issue.
Unfortunately, our ability to feel satisfaction goes down as our stress goes up, which makes the holidays a real paradox for what many consider the happiest time of year. Ironically, the harder we try the less we feel.
Learning to let go of “efforting” gives you the space to receive, one moment at a time.
Stress is a disconnection from the present moment that breaks any opportunity for true joy. When you get lost in the holiday hubbub your natural defenses kick. You close and your ability to receive goes down. This is what is commonly referred to as “stress.”
When you recognize you’re stressed, you have a choice to move back to your natural state of peace and love. When we “over effort” our muscles tighten too much and we get fixed into a doing state that closes us down.
Relief through the body
When we are open, we are receptive. We can listen…to our Selves… and others. The less connection we have to our ability to listen to ourselves, the less we are able to receive the joy that we want.
The next time you feel stressed this holiday season try these simple to use techniques to help you receive the joy that is always near.
1.Recognize you are stressed.
3. Walk to a quiet place to get away from external stimulation.
Now you have options. Feel free to use your imagination and follow these suggestions or make up your own. The key is to pay attention to your internal experience.
4. Walk to a quiet place such as the bathroom.
5. If you are in a bathroom splash water on your face and/or hands. This will help your energy shift.
6. Another option that you can do without a bathroom is to gently put your hands on your face as biofeedback instruments. Allow your hands to receive your face I know this is funny language but the key is not to pressure your face, just listen to it.
Even if you do nothing on purpose, the connection of hand to face warms up your skin, supporting softness, literally putting space between you and your stress.
Relief through organizing your day
Another ways to increase joy this holiday season is to include what you actually want in the moment as well as your plans. Perhaps plan fewer events in your day. When you go to a big gathering, seek out someone you would like to have a connection with. Make eye contact with that person. Listen to them. As you receive them, you are also receiving more of yourself, grounding you in the present experience.
The holiday paradox is that we have an idea of what we want but our way of achieving our desire gets in the way of what we actually seek. If you want joy this holiday season, slow down, relate to a few chosen experiences or people. Not only will you feel more joy but you will feel more energy, too!
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Stephanie Rauch has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education, is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed massage therapist in North Carolina.