Sunday, 13 December 2015

Conquering Christmas Week #3

Festive Fears

Most of our apprehension around Christmas time has its roots in a plethora of fears. Carol-singing, twinkle lights and gifts aren't exactly the most ominous, so what is there in a season of festive cheer that can actually cause so much dread? 

Fears are personal to us all, and whether we have few or many we're all familiar with that incessant uncomfortable feeling. It might be the foods, the people, our family, shopping, pressure, stress; the list goes on and on. There could be Christmas parties and social outings that we'd rather avoid. There's not exactly a one fear fits all to this time of year, so it's important to figure out what it is for you and how you plan to conquer it.

Regardless its origin, fear works in the same way once it rears its ugly head. But, that's my favourite thing about it - learning to overcome your fears is a transferable skill. What works for one fear will work for them all.

How do we conquer Christmas concerns?

1. Identify:

So, what is it that's causing fear to bubble up as the day draws closer? There has to be something that can be identified as the trigger, that persistent thought coursing throughout our minds. Different years for me presented with different fears. Sometimes it was the fear of festive food that boldly took centre stage, other times it was seeing people, some years it was even just the pressure to appear as if I was happy and enjoying the day when that was the last thing I was feeling. Even if it simply feels like a general sense of overwhelm, there is a key thought process creating the fear and that's what we need to seek out. Find it so you can fight it.

2. Question:

Once you know what you're dealing with, you need to cut it down at its roots. Fears manifest because we allow ourselves to fuel them. So stop the racing thoughts and throw out a curve-ball that questions the fear. Is this a real fear? What's the worst case scenario? Play the tape out and see in your mind's eye what would happen if your fear came true. Would you survive? Is the idea of the fear worse than the actual event itself? Fears are false evidence appearing real, that's all. Once they kick off, yeah it can be easier to blow them out of proportion than to actually let them go, but that pretty much just leaves us paralysed by panic. Questioning their logic will break them down bit by bit. Stay curious about the story that you're telling yourself and whether or not it's a true tale.

3. Change:

We have incredibly active minds and this is how the negatives can thrive so effortlessly - because we have the energy there to sustain them. In order to keep those waves of thought occupied, there has to be a change in what fuels the thought process. Everytime those familiar old fearful thoughts arise, stop them in their tracks and replace them with a thought of what you're looking forward to. Channel your anticipation into excitement instead of anxiety. Create your own change.

4. Focus on how you can prepare:

The day will come, whether we want it to or not. We can make a choice - to keep fearing it and avoid any enjoyment on the day, or to change how we're looking at it and embrace the festive spirit. We always have a choice and there is always a solution. Plan how to overcome the key challenges that keep cropping up. Take a step by step approach to minimise the fearful challenges into manageable parts. Give yourself the chance to work towards the day that you want it to be, free of fear and full of cheer. 

It's up to us how the day will play out, remember that you play a part in your own experience. Fear will only ever keep us stuck, keep us on the sidelines and keep us away from fully experiencing what life has to offer.

Don't let something with such feeble foundations ruin a day with such positive potential. 









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