Wednesday, December 19, 2012

As I am sure you are aware – families – especially this time of year – often struggle with love and acceptance.  We are expected to be close, loving, a warm connected unit.
The reality is that during this season the pressure we put on ourselves to feel all these things can be overwhelming.
In case you are wondering, this is the ‘high season’ for depression and emergency calls to psychotherapists!                  

 An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas...

Eight Holiday Survival Tips    
1)   Although tempting, remember that alcohol dulls your ability to respond!  Save it for when you’re with the good guys!
2)  Remember you don’t have to answer!  An ‘early human grin' (think chimpanzee) goes a long way towards diminishing those invasive questions…
3)  Remind yourself that there is no magic wand.  These are still the same people they always have been.  See them for who they are!
4)  Think through situations before you walk in the door.  Plan your strategy.  A good way to cover all bases is to think: best case, worst case, most realistic case.
5)  Practice dialogs beforehand.  If you let yourself have fun with this, when the real situation comes along you’ll be able to smile at your own cleverness.

6) Even if you don't pull it off 'perfectly' take some time to appreciate yourself!

7) Remember you only control 50% of whatever happens - give it your best shot and then let it go.
8)  Look for the fun parts – they might be in unexpected places.

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  1. Over the years, it turns out i've developed one of my own (although i guess it could fall under #2)...Today as I pulled into my client's parking lot, i was "greeted" by the client's dog. Since i'm deathly afraid of dogs, i put the word "greeted" in quotation marks, because i don't feel that being left to fend for myself with a strange dog is exactly a welcoming gesture. I've "met" the dog before, but i couldn't remember his name, so pulling myself together, taking a deep breath, without much thought at all i switched into a gear that i've taught myself over the years...i opened the car door and said, in a very calm and soothing voice, "Hello Pooky..." (I call all dogs that i don't know their name, "Pooky.") And in a sudden moment of a light bulb going on, i realized that in my attempt to "psyche the dog out" (because i've heard they can sense fear and i was trying to portray calm friendliness), I essentially psyched myself out, and hearing my own calm voice, i soothed myself.
    Now, i realize that i'm not deathly afraid of my mother-in-law, but she's definitely not my favorite person. And i can't exactly say, "Hello Pooky," to her, but i certainly can remember that soothing feeling that i gave myself by psyching myself out and hearing my own voice come out of me so calmly. I'm going to hang on to this one. Be the vision you want to be...

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  3. I think tip 4 is easily applied to life in general. Assigning a range of possibilities and probabilities is a good way to reduce anxiety about the many unknowns that crop up in life.