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Stress in the Holidays?

Hanukkah has just passed and Christmas is about to be celebrated. Both have a miracle at their core. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, commemorates the Jewish Maccabees driving the Greek soldiers away, after three years of fighting. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate the temple, but were only able to find enough oil for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days; long enough to make new oil. Christmas, or Christ’s festival, celebrates the birth of Jesus, whose conception was a miracle and he continued to perform miracles. So in this season of miracles, where is the stress coming?

Some may suggest it’s the consumerism of the holidays. Maybe it’s all the pressure of too many obligations? Or maybe, it’s all the rude people out there rushing around? Of course, those of you that access your Inherent Excellence wouldn’t consider these for a moment, would you? You can notice that all those examples are external causes for stress. External causes for our stress, or any emotions for that matter, would suggest that we are weak. That we are just tumble weeds blown around by the winds of life.

Instead, let’s look inside. What does your holiday "mean" to you? Be honest with yourself. Consider that negative feeling that can come up. Hold onto that feeling and allow it to build. What word describes it, like obligation, stress, etc. What causes that? Now what childhood image comes up when you think of the cause? What meaning did you form about the holidays at that time? This is often the meaning we are carrying around with us at the holidays. It’s just waiting for an opportunity to be rediscovered and healed. Our minds are working perfectly, supplying us with opportunities to work out the buried meaning we may have forgotten up until now. Remember, your mind wants you to be happy. It’s your natural state! Your mind just has an odd way of helping out by bringing up old events to be healed at inopportune times.

So notice that old picture, the old experience, and that old meaning. Now ask yourself, "What else could that mean?" For example, someone might be remembering parents stressed with a lack of money in the holidays. They could have decided that holidays are stressful and presents cause stress. Heck, they were 3 years old and that’s the meaning a kid formed. Now we’re big kids, so what else could it mean? It could mean the parents really cared about them. It could mean the holidays are a time when people are more focused on others than themselves. Ask the question slowly, allow the answer to come only as fast as it needs to, and really sit with each answer and try it on. It’s important to keep asking yourself the "what else" question again and again until you jump into an answer that really creates a shift. You may start crying or laughing. Look for that shift where your neurology changes. This is the magic of Neuro-Linguists. Language, especially questions, can permanently change the way you feel. Try it out and let me know.

Set out with clear intent for how you want to feel and go for it. In this season of miracles, you can create your own by changing your feelings about the holidays forever. It could really be this easy. Keep searching for a meaning that lights you up, like a Christmas tree or menorah!

An Exercise

Any time you want to change how you feel about an experience you can use the above process. Notice the feeling and the meaning you’ve attached to the experience. For example, the other person doesn’t care, the experience is annoying, etc. Then ask the magic question, "What else could it mean?"

Keep searching for a new meaning until you feel a real shift. Trust yourself. You’ll know when it happens. From this new meaning, and a more empowering way of feeling about the experience, you’ll be in a place to choose better behaviors. Don’t believe me, just try it for yourself.

Even better, try this exercise with someone else. Let them go into the experience and you ask them the magic question. Watch their response and slow it down so they feel the answers in their body and not just their head. It’s an awesome gift and you don’t have to wait in line at the mall.

Using your Inherent Excellence

We "attach" meanings to experience. It’s just a natural process that your wonderful brain does in the background. It’s a great tool for surviving in the world.

You can notice this power and realize you are in charge, not the outside world. You can also notice that when we feel good, we’re more confident, we make better decisions, and it just seems we’re luckier. Use your Inherent Excellence and take charge of feeling good now!

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein

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