Ah, December and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, St. Lucia Day and Ramadan; and I imagine there might even be a few more celebrations and holidays. This is a truly magical time of year but, for many of us this can just be the worst time of year as well. A time of year where stress can run rampant and where we can feel even more isolated and separate from all that is going on around us and the world in general. I have included an article on holiday depression to help you a bit.
Conversely, though, with so many family get togethers and family visits occurring, many of you have a whole lot of other issues bubbling up to the surface and many of those issues revolve around Anger. Anger for past hurts and anger for present situations.
We all know how harmful and dangerous (to yourself as well as others) anger can be, detrimentally affecting us both physically and emotionally. But, it is easier to tell yourself that you shouldn’t feel anger or you should release it than it is to sometimes actually be able to do so. Let’s face it, we all know what we are supposed to be doing to be healthy and happy emotionally and physically; but there are triggers out there that just get us every time and being able to release that anger can certainly be easier said than done.
So, I am offering you for the holidays an alternative. Please enjoy this guest article from a woman I have come to treasure. She is a contributor in my book and just an amazing woman generally, Jane Woods.
Anger- Make it work for you
What to do with our angry feelings is a topic that causes us all concern from time to time; it comes up often in my personal coaching sessions. Anger is one of the most primal and
complex feelings in the range of human emotions. Although in itself it’s neither good nor bad, its misuse causes a great deal of problems, particularly if it surfaces inappropriately in the workplace.
The problem with anger, as Aristotle said, is that it’s quite easy to become angry. Getting angry at the right time, with the right person, at the right level, and doing it in the right way is much more difficult!
When you signed up to the newsletter you will have received my free download on handling difficult situations and if anger is a problem for you it’s worth looking at it again.
Anger is not bad per se as it is sending us a clear signal that something isn’t right for us. But if you think it sometimes becomes an issue for you I have a few tips for managing it that may help.
Tips for Managing Anger
If you can, try and be really specific about what makes you angry. It can help to write it out as a statement ‘I am angry because....’
Look at this statement. Now try and analyze the reasons why this makes you angry. Sometimes you may discover that the reasons are not really to do with an individual; they may stem from old hurts in the past such as being bullied at school, or feeling belittled and not valued within your family. Or you may find your anger is perfectly reasonable. It’s important to give it some thought first before giving vent to it.
Think about what you want to say. Really see and hear the conversation happening in your imagination. Now write down the main points. What kind of language were you using in your imaginary conversation? Were you saying things like: “You make me so angry”? If you were, stop there and reread point one. What is that they do which makes you cross, upsets you? That is what you need to describe, the behavior. Be careful not to rubbish them as a person.
Having checked your ‘I am angry because’ statement does it still look O.K.? Reflect seriously on what you want the outcome of that conversation to be. Presumably you don’t want open warfare, but for them to stop whatever it is they do that angers you? And you may want to have a reasonable relationship with them post discussion. This is almost certainly true in the workplace where you want to behave professionally.
A core principle of managing your relationship is to treat the other person as you would wish to be treated. Don’t speak to them in front of others and when you are still angry, but arrange to talk privately when it’s a good time for both of you.
Similarly, try hard not to get into blaming them with statements that begin ‘You make me so mad...’ Use ‘I’ statements, such as ‘I feel upset when...’
Don’t send an e mail in anger. A letter can be fine but always wait at least 24 hours before sending it. E mails can fly off in a click but the damage can be much longer lasting.
If you can resolve your issues, great, if not you’ll need to agree to disagree in some way and then find an outlet for your strong feelings. Physical activity is good, like exercise. A good brisk walk can be beneficial on many levels.
Remember the power of the way you talk to yourself. If you consistently stoke your own anger with an internal dialogue about it you can become ill and stressed. Instead, try and replace any angry talk with something more calming and positive which allows you to move on.
- And finally, sometimes we find ourselves angry about situations over which it seems we have no control, like world poverty, or the issue of global warming. Direct your anger well and it can become a force for good. Join a political organization, or a charity; maybe become a volunteer or a campaigner. Some of the most amazing things we humans have ever done have been borne out of a sense of anger leading people to take action!
Jane C Woods
Changing People Ltd
And now, a little something from me to help understand and cope with holiday blues.
Beat Those Holiday Blues
The holiday season can be a time full of joy, cheer, parties and family gatherings. But for many people it is a depressing stressful time filled with negative self-evaluation, loneliness, focusing on past failures and anxiety about an uncertain future.
There are many factors involved in what we refer to as “holiday blues”. They include stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, money (or the lack thereof), and the inability to be with those you love. The demands on our time and energy including shopping, cleaning, decorating, parties, family reunions and house guests all contribute to feelings of stress, tension and anxiety.
People can also develop other physical stress responses that you might not realize are related to stress or anxiety such as headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience a post-holiday let down after January 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months, the stress of the holidays and is compounded by the excess fatigue and anxiety experienced during the rather long holiday season.
There are ways to help cope with the stress associated with the holidays. First, keep your expectations for the holiday season reasonable and manageable. Set for yourself realistic goals, pace yourself to help keep your energy up, organize your time and make lists if you need to in order to help you prioritize activities.
In order to do this, you really must be truthful with yourself and realistic about what you can and cannot do. Try not to put the entire focus on just one day such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. Keep in mind that it is a holiday “season” and it continues for about six weeks. Activities and celebrations can be spread out over the entire time frame which will lessen your stress and increase enjoyment throughout the whole season.
Give yourself a break. Remember just because it is the holiday season, it doesn’t mean that feelings of being sad or lonely will miraculously disappear. If those feelings were there before the holidays, they will be there during the holidays, and sometimes they even appear to get a bit worse. Understand that this is natural and normal and there is room for these feelings to be present, even if you choose not to express them. It doesn’t make you a Scrooge for experiencing them, it just makes you normal.
It is important, though, to realize that the bad feelings are not the real problem, they are only a symptom. They appear when something is not right in your world or within yourself. Look beyond the feelings and pay attention to what you are reacting to or focusing on. In addition, the holidays just lend themselves to triggering our subconscious. During the entire holiday season we can be inundated with triggers from our past. Some of these can be: past losses, grief, anticipation of a loss, comparing the past and the present, the contrast between the image of holiday joy we see in movies and the reality of our own life and the reminder of isolation and loneliness.
Don't make yourself helpless and assume the role of a victim, there is much you can do, such as taking responsibility for your own thoughts. You can choose what you focus your attention on. Rather than focusing on the negative, focus on the positive things in your life and in the world around you. The holiday season is an ideal time to observe people being their best. This is the time when people are more likely to give to those less fortunate, to take the time to listen to a Christmas carol or buy a gift.
Of course, if you want to there is plenty of theft and anger to focus on, but if that isn’t what you want in your life, then take control, take responsibility and focus your thoughts on all the good around you. If you have unfinished issues with grief and losses from your past, take advantage of the holidays to help you complete your mourning and finish the grieving process.
The holiday blues are such an obvious and expected syndrome, it makes it almost too easy to fall into the trap of focusing entirely on how bad you are feeling or you expect to feel. Falling into this trap will only make things worse. Rather, spend as much time as you can with supportive and caring people whether they are family, friends or that nice new person who just came into your life. Reach out and make new friends or get in touch with someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
If you continue to feel that you are stuck and you really want to shock yourself out of any holiday doldrums, stress or depression that you might be experiencing, do something for someone else. Consider volunteering some of your time to help others. There are so many worthy organizations out there and they can all use an extra hand during this time of year.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, save time for yourself! Make sure you give yourself enough time to sleep, rest and recharge your batteries! Give yourself the gift of pampering yourself; sleep in late or soak for an hour in a big bubble bath, curl up with a good book or watch an old movie. Whatever “feels” special to you, do it. After all, this is the season of giving, so why not put YOU first on the list!
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
I realized after my last newsletter that I left out the astrology section. So, here we have for your reading pleasure Sagittarius and Capricorn:
Sagittarians quest for spiritual enlightenment, seeking the elusive bridge of wisdom which links the world of the finite to the world of the infinite. Though many choose to wear the jester's cap, it rests on the head of the zodiac's deepest philosopher. If you're free and easy, a Sagittarian is your ideal companion. They're game for anything, full of wild ideas and bold as brass. If you're cautious, though, you can rely on a Sagittarian to unnerve you! Sagittarians are as deep and sensitive below the surface as they are happy-go-lucky above it.
They hate convention and can feel badly trapped by a standing commitment. Their enthusiasm lasts only while there's challenge or novelty, but this doesn't make them unreliable - for they will always honor an obligation. Sagittarians have great difficulty saying 'no', an endearing quality based on irrepressible optimism. The closest they'll normally come to a refusal is a hesitant 'maybe', - easily mistaken for a guarded 'yes'. Learn to read the signs and your life will be easier and their relationship with you will be much happier.
Capricorns are the keepers of the cosmic clock. They treasure the history and measure the mystery of the passing hours. A Capricorn, however, doesn't so much seek to take time as to give it. To create opportunity for others by helping them make more of life's most precious resource is every Capricorn's noble wish. If you need something done, contact a Capricorn.
These down-to-earth people tackle tasks one step at a time and rarely let anything intimidate them. Even under pressure, you're unlikely to see a Capricorn crumble. On the surface, at least, they're stable, inspiring others to entrust them with responsibility and authority. Beneath the Capricorn crust, however, is a very soft center.
Capricorns seethe with hidden hopes and intense emotions. They usually repress these, using them as a driving force to propel them towards ambition. Even so, those emotions are still potentially dangerous. Sooner or later, something will detonate them. Capricorns know this, but still hate to admit their feelings. Capricorns are full of useful information and ideas. They always have something interesting to say. They're good listeners too. And they are wise. Very wise.
The Drink That Makes You Eat Less
Once you get to the holidays, your calorie count can creep up without your realizing it.
So save yourself that nasty after-the-holidays bathroom-scale jolt by not letting a single day slip by without drinking lots of water. Doing so could save you from consuming an extra 200 calories a day!
Turns out people who regularly quench their thirsts with water consume a whopping 9 percent fewer daily calories than non-water drinkers. Not only do water drinkers seem to drink fewer sugary and calorie-heavy beverages (like eggnog, mulled wine, and champagne), but they also have healthier eating habits overall, according to a recent study. So tip the balance in your favor by sipping water throughout the day. Besides helping you to lose weight, water is essential for your health.
- Ways to Fight Holiday Weight Gain
The season to be jolly is here at last, and with it, all of those butter-drenched dishes and decadent desserts Aunt Bea loves to bake. But before you layer on the sweaters -- and the pounds they can hide -- check out this advice from Daphne Oz who's just followed her first book, The Dorm Room Diet, with a down-to-earth sequel: The Dorm Room Diet Planner.
After years of adolescent struggles with as much as 30 extra pounds, Daphne started to lose weight in high school -- and went to college determined: She not only avoided the loathed freshman 15 but also lost 10 pounds. Talk about A+ work! Here are her top stay-slim tips, no matter what your age:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, including one glass before every meal.
- Avoid emotional eating. The next time you reach for that cookie, ask yourself whether you're being prompted by stress, hurt, depression, boredom, or even joy. The purpose of eating is to fuel your body, not temper your feelings.
- Always have breakfast. It provides energy to your body and brain and keeps you from going into starvation mode and binge-eating later.
- Are you eating a balanced breakfast? Make over your morning with these quick fixes.
- Schedule time to eat. Plan on three meals and two fruit or veggie snacks every day. Look at your schedule for the day and block out windows of time to eat; "not enough time" is not an excuse.
- Count to your age before you "cheat." Anytime you find you are about to eat something that's not healthy, count to your age. If you still want a bit after your countdown, feel free; you've made a conscious decision to indulge.
- Ditch the defeatist attitude. Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. The important thing is to get back on. So when you succumb to that late-night bowl of ice cream, don't think "Well, I've already been bad, so I might as well finish the rest of the carton." Instead, enjoy the occasional indulgence and then return to your resolve.
- Get off the couch. A daily exercise routine would be ideal. But even walking up a few flights of stairs for a face-to-face conversation is better than text messaging.
- Avoid processed snacks. Always try to have a piece of fruit rather than processed snack foods, especially late at night. If fruit alone doesn't cut it, try adding some peanut butter. If you need a sugar fix, nuke a handful of dark chocolate chips in the microwave for a few seconds and dip your fruit into that.
- Quick Fix for the Stressed Out
Stressed out because you’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it? Dr. Amy Wechsler has a quick tip to help you make it through without getting fried. Hum. Yep, literally.
Humming has been scientifically proved to boost nitric oxide (NO), a nifty little body gas that, in small doses, has a stress-reducing effect. All of us produce NO in our respiratory tract, according to Wechsler. But it’s produced most notably in the sinuses. Humming affects the airflow between the sinuses and the nasal cavity in a way that creates more NO, a gas that promotes wound healing, new collagen formation, and better blood flow in the skin.
Seems those seven dwarves were nearly onto something -- if they’d just tweaked their music-making advice a little. Get more feel-good, look-good tips from Dr. Wechsler’s new book, The Mind-Beauty Connection.
If you find that no matter how much you hum, the stress is still there, I’ve got a suggestion that works every time. Take five minutes of hypnosis as often as needed. No kidding, it works like a charm every time.
I’ve got a free sample on my site; it’s just about 7 minutes long.
Listen as often as you need, it works, knocks the stress right out at least for a little while and the more often you practice doing that, then the more you train your body and mind to relax quickly.
Yep, it’s a win/win situation and one that won’t cost you a cent. Of course, if you’d like to take the relaxation a bit further, a downloadable session is a wonderful gift for yourself or someone you care about.
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