Don’t Let Stress be a Holiday Humbug

By Lynn A.

The holidays can be a time of high stress, with the squeeze of expectations, finances, or time. Most of us would like to avoid this stress if we could.

But what if there was a different way to deal with stress? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, views stress not as something to be avoided and endured, but as just one part of the fullness of our experience. ACT can give you the tools to live with and accept stress—and keep moving through it and toward the things that are meaningful to you.

During the holidays, this becomes even more important. Too often we miss what is right in front of us when we are caught up in our thoughts about how stressed we are.

The next time you find yourself stressed out, try this:

  1. Stop and take a deep breath. Focus on the air entering and leaving your lungs. Intentionally return to your body.

  2. Notice what is going on around you. What do you see? What do you hear, smell, or taste? You can do this even in the midst of chaos. Just notice and be present.

  3. Notice if your thoughts are unhelpful to the task at hand. Describe these thoughts as if you were a reporter at an event. For example: “I’m having the thought that I’ve got too much to do. That thought is upsetting to me.” Remember that they are just thoughts and you don’t have to engage with them if they are unhelpful.

Like bursts of bad weather, stressful moments will come and go. You can observe these moments, take note of them, but recognize that they will pass. Staying present and not getting swept up in those weather bursts can help you focus on what—or who—is important to you this holiday season.

Want to know more about how ACT can help with stress or managing weight? Early in 2017 2Morrow will debut a new ACT-based app called 2Morrow Health. To learn more, please contact us.