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When preparing for the stressful holiday gatherings with family and loved ones it can be helpful to take a moment to set your mind and ground yourself. I am a firm believer in setting your mind in small increments. What I mean by this is, instead of saying, “this holiday I am going to…and not going to…,” make the timeframe smaller. Use words like, “For the next hour I am going to…and I am not going to.” The shorter timeframes are a much more realistic way to watch your actions and words. As my mentor once taught me, practicing this exercise is how you build good habits.
In this case, the good habit is not letting stress or emotions overcome you. There is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings and ideas, but if you see a conflict on the rise and you don’t wish to go down that road, you are the only one who can stop it. The amazing part about this ability is that the more you learn to balance stress in each situation, the easier it becomes, reinforcing the idea that balance is the key to life.
Remember, there was a time in which you had to learn to walk, but today, it’s not something that you have to think about every “step” of the way (no pun intended); the same idea applies to other habits. In the beginning, it may take a lot of patience and self-control to remain calm and not let others’ words or actions get to you, but if you practice letting it go, over time, you will see that it’s not that difficult. You gain freedom from the situation.
Remember that “two hands make a clap.” I love this reminder because it becomes a visual when in a tense situation to remind yourself that you have control over whether you need to make that “clap” noise or not. Ask yourself, “what am I truly going to gain from saying/doing this?” If you see that all that will occur is frustration and disarray, don’t choose this road. If necessary, take a minute to remove yourself, taking 5 slow deep breaths (don’t hyperventilate though). This helps to bring oxygen to the brain and therefore allows the mind to calm and reset giving you more strength to act wisely. I use this word “strength” with purpose. Often the strongest individual in the room knows “when to do and when not do.” It is much easier to yell than to keep calm when a situation gets tense, but often keeping calm carries much more strength.
Life is filled with amazing moments and happiness, but it is also very challenging. Ultimately, you are the only one who can control your mind and body, and there is so much strength in knowing this; otherwise, we are dragged by the changing winds of life. These points will help with the situation at hand and before you know it, handling each situation as it comes with this harmony will soon lead to more extended periods where you can control your emotions and balance with what is around you. Soon enough you will have trained yourself to have better habits. There is nothing more rewarding than reflecting before you go to sleep and remembering all of the situations that you were able to handle with balance – there is no greater feeling of empowerment. This is exactly what leads to happiness. Remember, you will never get today again.