Mall madness, airport stress, listening to Deck the Halls for the hundredth time – it’s enough to make you want to scream, “Calgon Take Me Away!”
Well, now that you’ve gotten a dose of family and filled your bellies with eggnog and gingerbread, it’s time to chill out and head into the new year with a fantastic state of mind.
Here are some ways to decompress and calm down:
Shift your perspective
If you’re feeling stressed, it’s not the time to do a year in review of all the things that didn’t go right. Nor is it appropriate to think catastrophic thoughts about your future. Make a conscious attempt to shift the focus on any pessimistic thoughts and stay in the moment. Ground yourself. Imagine a grounding cord rooting into the center of the earth from your first chakra. If you stay here in the present, it will have a big effect on how you feel. When centered, your body doesn’t feel anxiety, making confrontation or pressure situations easier to deal with.
Also try saying things to yourself like, “I know I’ll get through this,” “I am open and receptive to new ideas about how to improve my situation,” or, “I’ve gotten through tough times before.”
Focus on the positive
Instead of focusing on all the things that drive you batty, pay attention to what worked during this holiday. Staying constantly focused on what makes you feel bad will only worsen an already difficult situation, says Lynn A. Robinson, motivational speaker and author of Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business. Find those precious slivers of appreciation in each day.
Incidentally, that’s why a lot of New Year’s resolutions don’t work. It’s because people are focusing on what they don’t want. Focus on what you do want instead.
Listen to your intuition
When you find yourself fraught with anxiety, check in with your intuition. Get in the habit of asking questions of your inner wisdom and expecting a reply. You might ask, “What could I do to feel calmer today?” In response, you get an image of a quiet lunch in the park coming to mind. “That is one of the ways your intuition responds – through images,” says Robinson. “Your intuition is connected to a higher wisdom that always knows what you need. It will always lead you to experiencing more peace.”
Tap in to the silence
At a deeper level, it seems that silence is something we fear. Dead air makes us uncomfortable. We fill the space by switching on the TV, using our cell phones, or clearing our throats during a quiet moment and saying something worthless, like, “Uh, I saw this show on TV…”
If you need constant noise, ask yourself why? What’s inside that you are trying to hush? Why not spend a day embracing the quiet. Turn off the cell phone and the devil box and opt to go for a walk in the woods or around the block. Enjoy a quiet meal, take a bath with Epsom salts or essential oils.
Consider cozying up with an uplifting book of poems (poetry encourages us to stop and reflect) and literally wrapping yourself up in serenity. The company Affirmagy, makes fleece blankets with positive affirmations on topics such as abundance, joy and serenity. The serenity wrap includes declarations such as “I am free,” “I accept things just as they are,” and “Today I stay in the moment.”
Being quiet encourages us to face ourselves. Watch the things that come up; let them wash over you without judgment. If you’re going to be silent, do it in the loudest way possible.
Anytime you get a little tense, take slow deep breaths. Relax your tongue and notice if you are tensing your jaw. And if you find yourself rushing, slow down. Savor the moment no matter where you are. If you want to tear your hair out, find the humor. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Enjoy the rhythm and beauty of nature for its lessons are patience and peace.
Color imagery and eye relaxation is another technique that can be done at a drop of a hat. Put your palms directly over your eyes. Block out all light without putting too much pressure on your eyelids. Try to see the color black. You may see other colors or images, but focus on the color black. Use a mental image to remember the color, i.e., black tar.
Continue this way for two to three minutes. Slowly open your eyes, gradually getting accustomed to the light. Experience the sense of relaxation in the muscles that control the opening and closing of your eyes.
Float up above yourself
Sometimes, in emotionally taxing situations it can be a good idea to detach so that you can calm down and get things in perspective. A good way to do this is to float up above the situation.
Imagine that your spirit is floating out of your body and looking down at yourself. Observe the scene as a whole system – notice how people react to what you do and say, and how you react to what they do and say. Does this new perspective teach you anything? Now come back into your body. Stay centered and respond rather than react.
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