When you go all the way back to the origins of Christmas, it was all about peace, the Prince of Peace, joy, and celebration. Unfortunately, we don’t hear about that as much as we hear about the economic pain and emotional difficulties that so many people experience at this time of the year.
In other words, more people are getting stressed out than blessed out. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
The good news is there are 15 things you can do to prevent undue stress from coming into your life. And if you’ve already got some bad stress habits, these 15 things will also help you eliminate the stress during the holidays and throughout your whole life.
Pick two or three of them and practice them every day this month. By the end of the month, you will not only have busted some bad stress habits, you will also have added some positive energy sources to your life.
►1. Reflect on your blessings at least once every day.
No matter who you are or what your situation might be, you have some good in your life. You have some blessings for which you can be grateful.
If you take a few moments to reflect on those things each day, you will go a long way towards kicking your stress to the curb.
And yet there are those people who tend to see only the bad or only talk about the bad. They’ve got a negative stress habit that’s going to bring them down.
I see it all around me in Florida where we just came through hurricane Ian. Just about everyone around us lost a lot. But the level of stress people are experiencing has very little to do with the amount of destruction they experienced. It’s connected to their outlook.
The ones who are coping the best don’t talk about what they lost; they focus on what they have left. They reflect on their blessings each day. The ones who are suffering the most talk about what they lost, what the government should be doing, and who’s to blame.
If you’ve got too much stress, spend a few more moments every day counting your blessings.
►2. Fast from the Internet 24 hours once per week.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, human beings are highly addictive creatures. Everything from coffee, sugar, nicotine, drugs, sex, gambling to the Internet. And every one of those things, improperly used or overused will mess up your life in some way. Because they become another stress habit that takes some control of your life.
In particular, overuse of the Internet has a depressive effect. In a recent article by Napat Wattanakij called, “Is There Any Connection between Internet Usage and Depression?” concludes:
“The more time spent online, the more frequent the depression is. The research talked about how internet dependence leads to an increase in depressive symptoms, and those symptoms lead right back to more internet dependency, resulting in a vicious cycle of sadness and more internet usage.”
In other words, if you want to experience more joy during the holidays and all your days, take a break from the Internet once in a while. I recommend fasting from the Internet 24 hours once per week.
One of my coaching clients took this advice and noticed an immediate uptick in her energy and positive outlook on life. She liked the results so much that she decided to give up all social media platforms and just use the Internet when researching a topic. She tells me she feels better than she has in several years.
►3. Spend a few moments to read and re-read your goals.
If you never took the time to figure out your goals, write down your goals, plan out your goals, and enjoy the fruits of your goals, you tend to live your life on autopilot, without giving it much thought. And when you live that way, your boat tends to get rocked with every breaking news story or event in your life. That’s stressful.
By contrast, when you set your goals, you tend to get closer and closer to the life you want, no matter what waves are crashing against you. That’s smart.
Get rid of the stress habit of being directionless. Quit living your life like the movie Groundhog Day, where you simply go through the motions, doing pretty much the same thing day after day.
Get some direction by writing out your goals. And then spend a few moments to read and re-read them to yourself every day. You’ll find yourself feeling a lot less stress and a lot more purpose.
►4. Look for humor everyday everywhere.
It’s impossible to laugh and be stressed out at the same time. Laughter lets some of the steam out of your pressure-cooker brain.
So if you’re the type that seldom laughs or finds things funny, I would suggest you have another stress habit bogging you down. You need to expose yourself to more funny material, whether it’s a stand-up comic, a funny movie, a joke book, or hang around some people with great senses of humor. It works to relieve some of your stress.
For example, one of my favorite comedians was George Burns. When he was 93, he signed a 5-year contract to perform at Caesar’s Palace. He said “They wanted me to sign a 10-year contract, but that would be silly. How do I know they’ll be around in 10 years?” That’s funny.
Later I heard Burns say, “If you see a man opening a door for a woman, you know that either the car is new or the wife is.” Yeah, I know, it’s a bit anti-female, but it’s still funny.
Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy. Don’t let your stress habits kill off the greatness of the holiday season. I said I would give you 15 great ways to bust your stress habits. I just gave you four of them. Stay tuned in for next week’s Tuesday Tip to learn even more of them.