Well, as the sun rises on another Christmas Eve, it’s time for us to continue with our really useful guide for surviving (ne thriving) the festive season. In the purist spirit of the WHATEVER LIFE THROWS ethos, we’d ask you to get a bit curious and try on some of the following approaches and notice what’s different. How are you thinking, feeling, or behaving differently? How do your nearest and dearest respond to you differently? Notice the presupposition here – that when you change your approach, perhaps by trying on some of ours, things will be different...... because they will be.....
Cause and Effect
Are you at Cause – being responsible for your results, or at Effect - ‘suffering’ at the effect of how others are treating you, feeling hard done by and powerless to change your state? The premise of cause and effect sounds very simplistic, but it’s tremendously powerful and extremely empowering once we can recognise where we ‘hold ourselves’ in victim-mode, for as long as we’re the victim of circumstance we’re relatively powerless to change things. Being at Cause however, gives us many more options and choices, even if the only choice is how ‘we respond’ to the situation – you’d be surprised at how quickly and effectively laughter for example can diffuse strong negative emotions, and completely change our experience in any given situation. So, during the Christmas period if you’re feeling challenged by events or people, think about how at ‘Cause’ you are in the situation. Remember, even if you believe your part is only 1% of the problem you still have some leverage and choices in how you react. Why not get our FREE Cause and Effect Download for even more information and distinctions.
Just like trying to speak an unfamiliar language in a foreign country, it can be frustrating when you’re not understood and are unable to get your message across clearly and your needs met. The WHATEVER LIFE THROWS Languages of Love lays out the fundamentals of the 5 basic love languages that we can embrace. Now, just like having our own familiar mother tongue, English for example, we all have a native love language – the one or two that sit higher up in our preferences and comfort zone. And in the same way that English is not the only language, others will have their own love language preferences. You wouldn’t go to France and speak to a native in English (well some people might, but that’s another story) and expect to be comprehended – in fact, you’ll probably lose respect from the person to whom you’re speaking and be considered rude – trying to speak their language, even a little can make a huge difference in how your message is received and how you’re perceived. In the same way, perhaps we can make our relationships even better by making the effort to identify the love language of our nearest and dearest so we can ‘speak’ to them a little more in their mother tongue. This really works, believe me – when I realised that my Dad’s love language is physical touch, it transformed our relationship when I started to touch his shoulder as I passed or gave him more hugs! Give it a go and see what you get - let us know, we’d love to hear how you get on. You can download the Languages of Love here.
Goat tracks and overcoming the stress response
On our WHATEVER HOLDS YOU BACK course, we introduce the metaphor of ‘goat tracks in your mind’. In a nutshell, our goat tracks are like our ingrained responses, habits, and behaviours – just think of a little goat finding its way down the mountain; it will always use the well-worn and familiar path to get there. So, how is this useful to me I hear you asking! Well, it’s useful because when you know where your goat tracks run and how they’re formed you have, you guessed it, MORE CHOICES! You can avoid acting without consciousness, just responding and ‘running down the well-worn path’ mentally. This is particularly pertinent to the potential stresses sometimes associated with the Festive Season. Check out our earlier blog - Stress: the goat lurking in the bushes! - for a useful technique to defuse our stress response goat track.
Breathe, count to 30, and then respond...
Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. I realise that this sounds completely simplistic, and yes it is – it’s also extremely hard to do and extremely powerful too! Our egos want us to be right and to put our ‘point of view’ across because clearly we can see something that the other person can’t, and if they only knew what we knew then they would see things differently, and indeed we would be right....... Sound familiar? The next time you feel an overwhelming desire to ‘tell someone how they need to change/be or do something’, stop yourself right there, count to 30 – and while you’re counting think about why we feel so desperate to impart this information, is it about them or us? If you still feel that it’s relevant or helpful at the end of 30 seconds to say what you intended to at the start, then feel free. However, you might just notice that the person has made their own revelation in the interval, or perhaps you’ve had one of your own and don’t need to say what, seconds before, was so important. Remember: breathe, count, and then respond.
Boosting your energy to prevent burning your Christmas candle at both ends
Christmas and the whole Festive Season can be a physically and emotionally draining period if we’re not careful. However, having the belief that we have a limited amount of energy is also a Meme (an idea, belief, or value that we’ve bought into). This isn’t to say that sometimes we don’t get physically exhausted, of course we do – and we also have access to a lot more energy than we think we do most of the time. A wee while ago, Neil wrote a blog about our ‘Secret Energy Source’ which is a lovely read, and also has a wonderful exercise to enable you to tap into your unlimited reserves of bountiful energy to help you keep on going (like the Energiser Bunny – sorry another Meme). Check it out here.
Lovely and Laid Back in Lavender
One of the wonderful things that came out of Neil and I being in the plane crash together was the reinvigoration of my interests in natural and complementary health practices. In order to get ourselves back together and clean up any negative trauma or feelings collapsed into flying for us, we brought to the fore all of our skills; NLP, Psychology, Angels, Meditation, Visualisation – to name but a few. One such rediscovery was the wonders of lavender essential oil. It has a wonderful calming effect and can easily be rubbed behind the ears or deposited on a tissue or handkerchief so you can sniff it whenever you want to feel a little calmer and relaxed. Indeed, even the action of taking the hanky out your pocket and taking a deep inhalation can be calming to the nervous system in its own right, resulting in a decrease in stress levels and stress hormones. Give it a go and notice what different results you get. If you’re interested in reading Neil’s original blog on the subject, check it out here.
I hope these techniques are helpful over the festive break. Neil and I wish you a restful and joyful Christmas and an amazing and magical New Year. We really look forward to sharing a part of the journey with you in 2012.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Me, I'm off to open the Champagne. Enjoy!