Here are 4 ways of helping us with these triggers during the holiday season and beyond…
- Be mindful of your inner life. It is trying to get your attention. Just notice and name what is happening. (For example, when I think of Humperdinck, I feel angry, I remember what he said/did, I feel my heart close). Recognizing what is happening can empower you to make choices about what you will say, what you won’t say, how much time you will spend with this person, etc. Accept that these feelings, sensations and thoughts are happening. This doesn’t mean that you like them, but when you fight with reality, you lose. It is much more empowering to realize what IS at that moment and make a conscious choice about how you will handle the next moment. In this way, we can learn how to respond rather than react.
- Move the body. Walk, go the gym, go to yoga. Do something that fits your personality and schedule. Sometimes during stressful times, the activities that help us the most get put by the wayside. Since, the body and the psyche hold memories that get reactivated when we are triggered, moving both physically and emotionally help us to be in flow of energy rather than sitting in and accumulating energy that then gets stuck.
- Get support. We are social animals and it can help to talk to a trusted other whether it be family, friend, therapist, life coach who will listen and help you process and explore what is going on with you. You can also journal your thoughts and feelings, draw or paint, express yourself in ways that work for you. Letting go of old patterns, old feelings and thoughts that no longer serve us creates space for peace, equanimity, and well-being. “Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” Eckhart Tolle. Use these states of mind/emotion as a catalyst for change.
- Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is especially important during difficult times and the holidays. Be your own best friend. What would your best friend say to you when you are feeling down, stressed, confused? Be that friend to yourself. We all have a certain self-talk that doesn’t serve us well, mostly inherited. With awareness, we can change that to be helpful to be helpful to ourselves.