Stress Tranformation for the Holidays
(And for anytime)
As you know, the holidays are coming. And, of course, they bring with them additional stresses (as if we weren't
stressed enough, already.)
But there are things you can do that will help you cope... and even more than cope, to
Now, I have no intention of rehashing all the things you can get at the other blogs, websites, and gurus. You
can be overwhelmed just by trying to read all the advice that comes out at this time of the year, much less trying
to implement it.
No, I don't want you to do a bunch of things that you aren't already doing. If you aren't already using some of
those techniques to cope with the stress, you probably aren't in much condition to do it now with added stresses.
Of course, if you haven't really been stressed yet and are just now looking for stress help, then go read all the
other blogs on it. You will probably find something for you there.
Still with me? Great! First, remember that stress, in and of itself, is a part of life. The same struggles that
are required for a butterfly to emerge from the cocoon are the same ones that build the muscles so that it can fly
once it has emerged. So don't think of stress as necessarily bad. Or that you can escape it.
Did you know that your body gets stressed when you see the love of your life or when you kiss said person? Very
few people think of that kind of stress as bad. In fact, scientists call it eustress (good stress). This
is opposed to distress (bad stress).
What makes distress instead of eustress? Mostly our stories. Our stories are our interpretation of events. If
you see someone coming towards you and you think it is your enemy, you will have a very different reaction than if
you think it is your best friend. And when it turns out to be neither, you will still have a predisposition to
treat the person the way you would treat whichever one he reminded you of. Stories.
What makes distress instead of eustress? Mostly our
As you prepare for the holidays, you may find yourself resenting the extra work, effort, and planning/scheduling
you have to do. Perhaps you are telling the story of how put-upon you are. Or maybe you are telling
yourself the story that the end result isn't worth the effort. In effect, it is a waste of your time and
What if you reviewed your story and decided that it WAS worth the effort. How would that change the
stresses? Wouldn't that suddenly alter the efforts you are making to one of INVESTING rather than
spending/wasting? Remember that investing is done with the expectation of reward/return
in the future. Look at the returns (rewards) of your
effort (enjoyment of the meal, the relationships strengthened or repaired, the affirmation of family, the
reaffirmation of love and affection through gifts….)
Or perhaps you will be getting together with Uncle Fester this year. You and Uncle Fester have a
"personality clash". Or, at least, have had in the past. As a result, you are expecting more of the
same this year. Just the thought of dealing with him is sapping your strength and raising your stress
How can we make that different? First, look at why you are clashing. Are you expecting him to be
like you? Are you expecting him to be different than he is? (Do you hear that word "expecting"?)
What if you if you released your expectations for him? What if you expected him to be the same?
("But that's the problem, I'm expecting him to be just like he is every year. That's what's causing me
I would suggest that part of what is causing you distress is your expectation/desire for him to be different
than he is. What if you allowed him to be who he is and not who you want him to be? Once you decide to
let him be who he is, he becomes like a lot of other people you encounter. (You may not choose to hang out
with those people, but you treat them quite civilly in your interactions with them. If you don't and you
can't… you may want to consider a visit to a therapist.)
If you want to take it one step further, look for the ways that his personality is actually a benefit to
him. (You are noticing his good points and his strengths.) When you do this, you make him back into a
human being rather than someone who exists to make your life miserable. (Note: while there is a small
possibility that he exists to make your life miserable, the odds are highly against it, so you are better off
assuming that he isn't there for that purpose -- just as you aren't here just to make his life miserable (even
though you may be doing it.)) By looking for his good points, you might even discover that he has strengths
that could complement yours.
"But, John, do I have to do that?" Nope. It's your choice. You can choose to keep your
distress and energy-draining viewpoint or you can change it. But changing it is as simple as changing your
So, as you enter this holiday time, instead of working on a big list of dos and don'ts to relieve stress, look
at the stories you are telling yourself. Change the story and you change the meaning of the event. Change the
meaning of the event and you change the way you handle the stress. You can actually turn the distress into
Here's another aid to dealing with stress... and one you probably won't find elsewhere.
The aid is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It is a tapping technique that neutralizes negative
emotions. It is powerful enough to be successful working with veterans and others who are suffering from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — such as victims from earthquakes and other natural disasters.
It is also simple enough to be used with children... even young children.
Learning the basics of EFT is simple and quick... and free. However, some people are reluctant to tap on
themselves or on their children. For those people, help is here.
Tappy Bear is the perfect aid for learning and using EFT — especially with children. Tappy was created
specifically to help children use EFT... by tapping on Tappy. All the points they need to know are on
Tappy. And Tappy is an incredibly warm and comforting Teddy Bear.
But Tappy isn't just for children... even though he was created for children. I know adults who love Tappy
and use him for themselves. (I have a Tappy Bear and use him in my practice with clients.)
Learn more about Tappy Bear and find out how you can use him, too, on your
negative emotions (or with your children.)