This time of year brings more than holiday cheer and presents, it also brings stress! Whether you're fighting the crowds at the airport and mall, or bracing for the effects of forced family fun, you might notice your body and mind feeling more tense than usual.
Stress commonly spikes during the holiday season. It effects our cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system. If not handled appropriately, stress can result in physical and psychological exhaustion, as well as many other significant health issues.
The best way to handle stress is to S.T.O.P. it in its tracks. Follow this formula whenever you find your body tensing up and/or your mind racing with 'to-do' lists:
S = Stop what you're doing.
T = Take a deep breath.
O = Observe how you're feeling.
P = Proceed with what you were doing.
The key to the S.T.O.P. formula is in the awareness of your thoughts and feelings. When you stop the stress in its tracks, you take away its power. When you stop to notice the stress, and take a deep breath, your awareness and breath act as a protecting shield from the stress. It's that easy!
Another helpful tip is to picture a stop sign in your mind as you begin to S.T.O.P.. The brain processes images faster than words. Imagine a picture of a stop sign, begin to S.T.O.P., and the formula will work even faster!
We can't avoid stress during the holidays, but when you learn to S.T.O.P. and recognize it, you can continue into the new year with more energy, health, and happiness!