How to Create Less Stress at Holiday Gatherings


Holidays like Thanksgiving are for loving relationships, smiles, laughter and should be a minimal less stress period. However, there can be good and bad stressful experiences at these events. Relationships are often governed by long held experiences, memories, thoughts and beliefs about relatives and friends as well as the things that happen at the event. Beware of old negative experiences leading to Default Emotional Responses (DERs) which lead to Default Behavioral Reactions (DBRs). Here are some tips to help you create less stress during holiday functions:

1)     Be mindful of triggers that activate stressors and avoid or eliminate the triggers

2)     Be mindful of triggers that ignite relationship difficulties and avoid or eliminate the triggers

3)     Create a positive rational dialogue to counter the negative thoughts or situations before the gathering *

4)     Give yourself the permission and power to use the response(s) you have created

5)     Create as much positive talk as possible about a loved one who may not be present

6)     Take mini-stress breaks throughout the day or as needed

7)     Encourage and support the efforts of others to be stress rejecters and tranquility makers

*Decide on any ALTERNATIVE INTERNAL STATEMENT OR DIALOGUE, etc. you want to use to COMBAT and CHANGE each situation. Write down the new approach, especially when you first begin using it, until you feel comfortable about the progress you have made that enables you to handle the situation. (If you were making a presentation at work, you could use a similar approach. If this is important to you, make the commitment to work for the change.)

  1. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and PRACTICE the alternative internal statement or dialogue before you engage the person or situation.
  2. Think of the PERSONAL OR RELATIONSHIP BENEFITS or the way things will be different when you use the different approach(s).

Dr. Thomas A. Parker, LPC, CPCS
Stress Rejecters Nation
Twitter: @stressrejecters
Facebook: Stress Rejecters Nation

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