4 Steps to help you Focus On Joy
So many stressors are threatening to interfere with the joy that holidays are meant to be. Some of us are going to be around family or travel for the first time is waaaay too long, and even though we love our families and miss our traditions, gathering during COVID can be particularly stressful. Holidays are meant to be full of joy. Close relationships, great food, pretty decor, and traditions remind us of how very fortunate we are. Yet there is so much stress and uncertainty swirling around, are you struggling to find the joy between planning and stressing?
Try the following Four Steps to help you Focus on Joy:
1 – Whenever you realize you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, stop for a moment and breathe. Take several slow deep breaths. This will give your nervous system a chance to shift into appreciation mode from defense mode. Once you’re calm and thinking clearly you can more easily remember why you are celebrating in the first place.
2 – Zoom out. This is a method I use frequently with my clients. Often when we are stressed about something, it’s because we are focusing on a small conflict or discomfort rather than the bigger picture. Does your relative’s teasing, or repeating a story about you from the old days make you grit your teeth and ball up your fists? What if you shift your focus from exactly what that relative is saying to the relationship you have. Even if your interactions are not all hugs and kisses and feelings of mutual support, it could be that this relative is just trying to connect the best they can, repeating stories to remind you of times in life when things were more simple. Zoom out and try to see the bigger picture, family and loved ones gather because we are a community, we need and love each other. What if you look at the loved one who usually annoys you and picture a bubble above their heads with the words, “I love you!” in it. As friction full as it might feel, imagine that is just their way of expressing love.
3 – Be present. When groups gather, there are usually several conversations going on at once. If you try to engage in them all at the same time it would be stressful and possibly overwhelming. If you focus on just one of the conversations you may have a deep and meaningful experience, which will bring you satisfaction, feelings of connection, and joy. So try to mindfully focus on one conversation at a time, if you are present and mindful, you will feel less stress and more joy.
4 – Shift your focus. Have you ever taken a picture and had the background be in focus when you were trying to capture an image in the foreground? Your attention can work like that. If there is a conflict or difficult conversation happening at your holiday gathering, try a focus shift. Look at the abundance of food on the table or a smile on a loved one’s face. Feel the joy return to your mind and body.
5 – BONUS gratitude! Gratitude is always there for you, and definitely my go to emotional uplift. Even in the stress and chaos, there is always something to be grateful for. It doesn’t even have to be something big, like your loved ones, although that’s a great one of course. It could be as simple as breathing. You can close your eyes, take a deep breath and say silently to yourself, “I am grateful for my breath.”
What are you grateful for this holiday season?
Reply to this email and let me know! And check out the holiday specials on my website, set yourself up for a joyful and successful 2022.
If you’re struggling to find gratitude, joy or health, please contact me for a coaching session and I’ll help you learn how to refocus on joy!