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Stress? What Stress? Page 2
How to Stay Calm and Collected During the Most Hectic Time of the Year

If you're the one who's hosting the party, then be sure and allow people to help you. If no one offers then grab a couple of your closest friends or family members and give them something to do. Make sure you're organized well ahead of time and be prepared for minor disasters - and this means more than just knowing how to handle an accident or unpleasant situation. It also means being prepared mentally - being able to accept the fact that things may not go as planned, being flexible, being able to accept help, and above all, having a sense of humor.

(Article continued below.)

Remember to breathe. Have you ever taken the time out to observe yourself when you're functioning under stress? Your breathing pattern changes. It becomes shallow. Your body tenses up. Stress starts in the mind and affects your body; if you can change your body's reactions, it can help calm your mind. So relax your tense muscles, take some deep breaths. Stop hunching your shoulders and clenching your jaw. Relax your forehead. Keep breathing. Remind yourself throughout the day to pay attention to what your body's doing. You can actually start changing some negative thought patterns this way.

Accept the fact that your friends, co-workers and relatives are the way they are. They are not going to behave differently just because it's the holidays. It takes two to start an argument - if you don't want to become involved in a heated political, religious or philosophical discussion, then don't. You probably have a couple of people in your life who seem to take particular delight in pushing your buttons, but keep in mind - they're your buttons. You can turn off the power to them any time you wish. Most of the time, when an antagonist can't get a rise out of you, he or she will just go away. If someone is spouting off opinionated views that you find disagreeable, you don't have to counter them with your own beliefs. You already know you're not going to change the other person's mind and he or she is not going to change yours. Why create an unpleasant situation? Let the person have his or her say and then find something else to discuss - the weather, maybe, or a television show. You don't have to respond whenever you disagree with someone. Do you want to be right or do you want to have some peace? It's the holidays - choose peace.

Realize that each year's holiday season will have its own spirit. It's nice to have treasured memories of good times past, but it's wrong to expect today to be the same as yesterday. It is especially important during the holidays to live in the present, to embrace the magic of each moment as it arrives, and to let it go as it passes so you're open for the next moment. Appreciate the past, but live for today. Remember - this holiday will someday be a treasured memory itself... not only for you, but also for others near to you, too.

Above all, enjoy. That's what the holiday season is all about - enjoying time with family and friends, and appreciating the connection with something greater than yourself. When we're rushed and stressed out, we often forget just why we're doing all that we're doing. If you find yourself getting angry or frustrated, stop for a moment and remember your center - the source for all your joy. The holidays are meant to be a celebration. So celebrate!

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