“It’s the season to be flat out and tired.’
Well you never hear those lyrics do you? But feeling stressed is more the truth of what happens in the run up to Christmas. For many, getting ready for Christmas comes with a side helping of stress that blocks the fun. A combination of unrealistic expectations, tiredness, overwork, fretting over who’s coming to stay, how much we’re spending and how to make it perfect for everyone; can mean it’s far from perfect for us or anybody else! Add to that the physical implications of less than ideal nutrition, more alcohol than usual, late nights and poor sleep, and it’s no wonder we can end up wondering why we bother.
Get rid of your triggers – Stress is often caused by past triggers.
Most stress and worry is held in the unconscious part of your brain. Few people plan to loose their rag or feel tired and sad – a person, situation or thought will trigger an emotional response. And before Santa can get down the chimney there is a lot of unwanted emotion flying around. This response is called a negative hypnotic pattern match. Hypnotic because it makes you focus on the negative and loose sight of the bigger picture.
What Causes a Trigger?
Past Experiences – Triggers often have roots in previous times when you have had worries, or when things haven’t gone well. As human beings we’re very good at finding patterns – it makes for a sort of shorthand for life, stopping us having to think about what a chair or a cup is for every time we use it. A previous negative experience can build an unconscious expectation that the same thing is going to happen every time you come across a similar event or person.
So if there are relatives who always seem to put their foot in with unkind comments, or you feel not good enough then time to get tough with those triggers by preparing yourself to let those comments be water off a ducks back.
Unrealistic Expectations – Sometimes you can build your own expectations through your thoughts. So you imagine the bossy Sister or Lazy Uncle to be different this Christmas– well the fairy dust will grow dim in the shadow of this expectation as you are only likely to be disappointed. You can’t change others so to find some peace of mind how about shifting how you expect them to change.
Many people have this ideal of how Christmas should be and yes its great to have a goal of what you want to achieve but make sure it is an achievable one.
Adopting Other Peoples’ stress bucket – Yep lots of us do it – we step into other people’s drama and end up building another trigger.
Here is what to do to start to clear your triggers.
- The best plan is to start to be conscious of triggers that blast out a negative response. So make a list of the times that you know you feel angry, upset, unsupported or self-conscious. And look at what the trigger points were.
- A good way of tackling the triggers is to work with the unconscious mind through EFT and hypnosis. They can help re-programme the mind by breaking down old patterns and replacing them with new, more helpful ones.
- Check out our previous blogs on EFT and use it to shrink or get rid of triggers.
- Spend a few minutes every day focus on all the things you love about Christmas – the sights, the sounds, the smells – and really enjoy that positive experience. What you’re doing is laying down new associations and patterns with Christmas which will be the ones that come to mind when you think about the festive season ahead, and the more you do that, the stronger the association will be.
- There is also a great breathing technique – This is something we teach right from the beginning on the Diploma Course in Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, and this year’s students are already seeing great results in helping others with relaxation and breathing exercises, despite having only started in October. Just breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11. You can change the count if you find that difficult, for example to 5 and 9, but the important thing is to breathe out for longer than you breathe in. This fires up the parasympathetic nervous response, the system that tells our bodies’ alarm systems to stand down, there’s no emergency to deal with. You’ll feel your shoulders drop in an instant, with a lovely feeling of relaxation.
To take the technique further, a qualified hypnotherapist can help you. Hypnosis is great for managing seasonal stress, and actually helps us to grow new neural pathways which lay down new patterns in our brains. Give it a try this Christmas!
To find out more about the Diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy and Learn Hypnosis Weekends, click here