Nine Seconds to a Happier Holiday

lady feeling free

Good news and bad news. The good news first:

The holidays are here! Family, friends, parties, presents…

The bad news? The holidays are here! Family, friends, parties, shopping…aaaand STRESS!

Here a tip:

If your stress comes from the shopping (financial or just the act of shopping) keep your expectations real. The holidays are about the people in your lives not on how much you spend. Can’t give them a lot of stuff? Give them a lot of love.

But what if your stress comes from the people in your lives? Again, keep your expectations real. If Aunt Martha usually acts like “a pain”, she’s probably going to act like “a pain” again this year.  Just accept that as the way it is. If she doesn’t act like a “pain” this year, take that as an added bonus.

Need something more concrete to do in response to stress? Try using the Quieting Reflex recommended by Dr. Arlene Taylor*. When you feel stress coming on

  1. Smile. This tiny action releases positive chemicals to the brain. Think of it as a mini anti-depressant.
  2. Tell yourself to stay “alert and calm.” Look for the humor in the situation.
  3. Breathe deeply to increase oxygen to the brain. This will also help you stay alert and calm.
  4. Exhale slowly and allow your muscles to momentarily relax. “Hang loose” for a couple of seconds.
  5. Determine what you need to do. In some cases you may have to temporarily remove yourself from the situation.
  6. Finally, resume your activities. It's the holidays so have fun!


Lonnie Carbaugh

Lonnie Carbaugh, LPC, NCC,  is a Behavioral Health Counselor at Full Plate Living who has shed and kept off 25 pounds since working for Full Plate Living. He is as dedicated about walking 5 miles a day as he is about his favorite sport, baseball.

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