So Black Friday has passed you by, and Cyber Monday is today, and you are behind on your holiday stress management already.
Sounds like you might be buying into what the retailers always want us to think, there is not enough time, not enough Zuu Zuu dolls, not enough money so you had better get yourself filled up with adrenalin and cortisol and charge out to slay the retail dragons.
The implication of scarcity is a key component in advertising of all kinds, and conversely, that abundance can be had with just this one more purchase, and perhaps you have heard the kids mentioning a preference or two.
If I am not careful, and I am not discerning in regards to my thinking and my breathing and my exercise and my nutrition and my sleep and my stress management, I will fill up with adrenalin and cortisol, which is the chemistry of stress (it happens really fast, in less time than it takes to blink my eyes)and keep that stress chemistry in place in order to live up the ideals of consumption that my culture is telling me I should live up to.
Stress management programs always focus on what to think about, and that is part of the holiday stress management solution.
What those programs neglect to teach however is that I may sustain gratitude thoughts, for example, for a few minutes, and those gratitude thoughts will change my chemistry in a healthy direction, a non-artery clogging direction, but I can switch right back to stress chemistry as soon as I contemplate the unpaid mortgage payment and try to figure out how to do both Christmas and the house payment.
So the key to holiday stress management is a balance of stress and relaxation thoughts which happen regularly.
There was a time when we did not have to schedule relaxation and stress, when stress happened only at those moments when we needed to fight for our lives, and if we came out of that struggle still alive, then we rested.
That is how our bodies stress response is supposed to be used. We were relaxing in between episodes of hunting, and in many indigenous cultures, that is still the norm, work to gather food for a day or two, then work on spirituality for several days.
Not in our culture, where we are invited to constantly stay stressed, so we have to plan relaxation, and I think we need to do relaxation in short bursts, and then re-learn to keep it going for longer periods until we learn to keep the stress response a choice again.
If the stress response happens inside me, then the contentment response must also happen there, which means holiday stress management is based on what I think, and how I breathe, and managing those two aspects of human experience is free, although I am sure someone is working on a way to tax the two.
I began looking for stress management tools as part of a very important struggle that I began about 30 years ago, and I have tried many.
Luckily for us, research has given us tools like neurofeedback, or eeg biofeedback, which helps us train attentional styles in HZ. or cycles per second.
Great tool for ADD/ADHD and alcoholism, to name two, and Heartmath, which is the tool I am going to speak to for holiday stress management.
Heartmath or heart rate variability biofeedback is a tool that helps my train the brain in my heart, the brain in my heart that no one knew about not too many years ago, to beat coherently based on thoughts and breathing. That heart brain is affiliative and cooperative, by the way.
That brain in my heart, which is actually the hearts own nervous system, will learn and make decisions based on real time feedback from a computer screen in short order.
The kicker about Heartmath is that once I have trained my heart to respond to feedback, and to generate long periods of coherent heart rate variability, I can cue the coherent heart rate simply by remembering my cue thought.
(Remember, it is a perception of "lack" which cues us to make a stress response, and then go shopping and buy stuff to feel relaxed again, so a thought about someone you love should cue a different physiology, correct?)
No shopping necessary, and I can generalize this physiology to other stressful holiday thoughts, for example, having company over when you would prefer that there not be any company.
Are you a golfer, anxiously awaiting spring, or a student getting ready for the SAT or ACT college admissions test, or are you worried about emotional eating during the holidays?
All of those issues can be complicated by runaway stress, and the Heartmath tool impacts stress in a heart beat.
Worried about your brainfitness? Learning the Heartmath process actually opens up the higher perceptual centers of the brain for better brain storming.
Most brain fitness writers say that we can enhance our brains natural ability to grow new neurons every day, and our brains natural ability to form new connections (neurogenesis and neuroplasticity) by taking care of the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experience.
Looks like Heartmath is a perfect fit for holiday stress management, and even New Year's Resolutions.
I like to use it because it helps me to sustain an attitude of gratitude.
Here is a link to the Heartmath store and a video demonstration.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.