Feeling Holiday Stress? Remember This Important Connection

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some combination of the above, you are likely already into that annual whirlwind of events, parties, shopping, cooking, baking, etc. etc.

This time of year can also be tough emotionally for many of us. We may miss family members and friends who are no longer with us. Or we may feel nostalgia for past holidays, such as Christmases when the kids were still young, or even for our Christmases when WE were young.

In my work with clients, I often discuss the mind-body connection as an important pillar of human performance. It’s real and you can either use it – like helping you get through stressful or tough emotional times – or you can be used BY it.

Merry Christmas wreath

The term “mind-body connection” first came into use in the West during the 1960s and 1970s, which was a period of tremendous social and ideological change. At first, people associated this type of concept with yoga and meditation, which was becoming increasingly popular. It became really publicized through the work of doctors and scientists, such as Herbert Benson MD’s classic work, The Relaxation Response. Through his studies and experiments, Dr. Benson demonstrated that ordinary people could use their breathing and thoughts to cultivate a calm, serene emotional state, which in turn affected physiological processes such as breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure – with significant implications for helping folks stay healthy or even heal faster from surgery or disease.

Dr. Benson’s first book was published way back in 1975. So you think we would all be mind-body experts by now; that mind-body meditation or breathing techniques would be part of the standard school curriculum; and that we would all routinely tune into our physical state and emotions at various times during the day. Unfortunately, some 47 years later, the idea that your state of mind can have significant effects on your physiology, and therefore on your performance, your health – indeed, on how you experience your life – still has not caught on.

Most people ignore this connection. Many numb out to avoid going inside and fully connecting to and feeling what is going on in their bodies. Unfortunately, they are missing out an important fact: your conscious thoughts have a huge influence on your physical state, which in turn influences your thoughts and emotions…all of which affects pretty much everything you do.

There is no neutral or middle ground: your thoughts and emotional state are either positive or negative, which in turn drives your physical state. Wouldn’t you rather spend most of your time in a constructive, positive state? How could this transform your life? Imagine changing from a “getting through the holidays” to an “enjoying and loving the holidays” mentality.

In our next post, I will discuss the quickest, most direct way to change your thoughts, emotions and physicality. So stay tuned…

Leave a Reply