As joyous a time as the holidays can be, sometimes it gets a little difficult to stay calm with all of the family outings, gifts to buy, parties to attend, and so on. We get it. And so does Dr. Jaime Kulaga, PhD.
Dr. Kulaga shares some tips that she recommends to her stressed-out clients below. Start practicing them now, and you could be stress-free by 2014.
It's a stressful time of year...
1. Don't Focus On Others. Focus On You. If your friend just got engaged and you're still single, or if your coworker got a promotion that you wanted, don't stress out. Comparing yourself to others automatically makes you feel like the inferior one. Instead, focus your energy on you and how you can improve your life. "You are in control of you and need to take the time and energy to explore who you are," says Dr. Kulaga.
2. Stay Active. "Find ways to beef up your energy so that you can handle any stressors that come your way," says Dr. Kulaga. For example, if you know you have tons of work to do, make sure to treat yourself to a nice healthy breakfast first, or take a break to fit in a workout in the middle of a hectic week.
3. Don't Add Extra Worry. Live in the now as much as possible, because obsessing over things that might go wrong won't help prevent any of them. In fact, "If you create anxiety and tell yourself that something might go wrong, and then in fact it goes wrong, then you lived the pain twice," Dr. Kulaga says.
4. Avoid Negative Friends. "Negativity truly is contagious and stressful," says Dr. Kulaga. And once you adopt those negative thoughts, the bad effects can stick around for a while. Pessimistic thoughts act as internal stressors on the body, says Dr. Kulaga. They activate our "fight or flight" response and can keep us agitated for long periods of time. So make plans with your positive friends instead!
5. Appreciate What You Have. Yes, not everything may be perfect in your life, but give yourself some credit—you worked hard to get to where you are. "Once you realize you earned what you have (whatever that is), your confidence goes up and [as a result] stress goes down."
Now we know this is all easier said than done, but if you might end up more relaxed and happy, we think it's worth a shot. Will you try these tips?