A Quick Fix for Holiday Stress

I’m pretty stressed. Final exams are next week, my 22nd birthday will be here before I know it and I have yet to figure out how I want to celebrate the occasion PLUS I have lots of Christmas shopping to still tackle. That’s why when I was contacted by psychologist and author of the upcoming Live Like a Window, Work Like A Mirror: Enlightenment and the Practice of Eternity Consciousness Mark C. Brown, Ph.D. about reversing holiday stress, I was ALL EARS! Here is what he had to say:

The ‘holiday blues’ is an urban legend. In reality, gift shopping, food preparation, decorating, anticipating special company and hearing songs of good cheer keep us focused on being happy that we are more likely to feel a bit high than noticeably low.

What can result from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, however, is a certain amount of central nervous system overload. This is just a psychophysiological reality. The good news is that, in spite of how ominous this condition might sound, it can be soothed by simply attending deliberately to something that we do automatically every second of every day – breathing.

Here’s how: Take a moment to sit in a comfortable chair with your feet up. Place your hands on your abdomen just below your rib cage, breathe normally for a few seconds, and then on your next inhalation, make sure that your abdomen pushes out against your hands. Hold that breath for a couple of beats, and when you exhale, let your whole body collapse like a rag doll. Repeat this action for several minutes and you will soon notice a very pleasant sense of serenity.

This good feeling results from rebalancing the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your brain that can readily change in a negative direction with too much stimulation, even good stimulation. Abdominal breathing is the key. Just ask any meditator, yoga practitioner or mom who used lamaze breathing in childbirth.

If you find that you like the outcome of this simple exercise, make it a frequent practice. The benefits will certainly be worth the investment of time. And if time seems in short supply with all you have to do right now, in the spirit of the season of giving, let it be a little gift you save for yourself.

Well, I don’t know about you but I feel better already. Breathe, smile and be holly jolly! I hope your Monday is a little less stressful now!
How do you alleviate holiday stress? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

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