Sometimes Christmas day can be built up with so many expectations – the food, the gifts, the tree, the family, the kids, the joy of Santa coming. These are all wonderful but can often seem overwhelming. Frequently people struggle to contain the pressure and many families experience stress on the very day that everyone is’ supposed’ to be happy, at ease and peaceful.
,If you are fortunate enough to have a calm family who can take it all in their stride then rejoice. However, if you are like many of us whose families can feel the tension and have trouble managing it then have yourself a ‘Conscious Christmas’. Use your breathing to help ground you in the present moment, pause and savour all the abundance the festivities have to offer. Take your time with the preparations and most of all remember to bring humour to any tense situation. If you decide to anchor yourself in the moment and to enjoy every wonderful moment of the day, you will provide a calming influence to others who may be less able to self-regulate.
The best gift you can give to yourself and those around you is a calm, happy and peaceful Christmas. Cultivate the ability to express gratitude, moment by moment and breath by breath. Let the magic of Christmas lift up your spirits and spread joy to those fortunate enough to spend the day with you.
This week, if you feel stressed by too many demands at work, or if something is not going the way you intended, or you simply feel worn out or drained then use this this simple but incredibly effective technique to calm down quickly, recover your mental well-being and return to a place of inner calm and peace.
Sit down somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Check in with how stressed/anxious you feel on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the highest and 0 the lowest.
Imagine a dial with the numbers 0-10 in front of you.
Start at the number of how high your unwanted negative emotion is – if it is 10 start there, if it is 7-8 or even a 4-5 then start there.
Take a deep breath in and as you do this imagine breathing in a sense of calm. You can give this a light colour. When you reach the top of the breath hold it and scan your body for the stress and tension you are feeling. Slowly start to exhale while imagining a dark colour slowly leaving your body and releasing the tension.
Continue this and work your way down to 0 while visualising the numbers going down with each inhalation and exhalation.
Open your eyes and notice how much calmer you are than when you first started the exercise.
Many people turn to unhealthy habits such as smoking or comfort eating when they feel stressed or anxious but these habits often compound the problem. By using techniques such as the anxiety/stress dial outlined above you are taking a responsible role in your ability to self-soothe.