Archive for Stress

The Danger Of Coveting A Magazine Christmas

Whether you scroll through Pinterest, flip through your favorite magazine, see holiday ads on TV, or look at my house (I’m kidding! So kidding it’s sad…), perfect versions of Christmas are popping up everywhere during the fall and winter months. While they are nice to look at and can serve as inspiration for your own holiday decorating, cooking, and gift giving, there’s a hidden danger in these perfect depictions of Christmas that you need to be aware of.

The key word here is “perfect.” When you’re looking at these holiday images you’re presented with, there’s a real danger that you start to expect your own family Christmas to have the same look and feel. That’s about as realistic as wanting the perfect, air brushed body that the model on the latest fitness or fashion magazine has. Coveting a magazine cover Christmas will only lead to disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy.

While we may intellectually know not to expect the perfect holiday display in a family with young children and pets, not to mention hay getting tracked in, we may still subconsciously want it after seeing these perfect holiday visions all around us. Since we can’t realistically have a perfectly decorated home, or a color-coordinated tree with designer ornaments, we end up feeling disappointed when we look at the macaroni ornaments on our tree. Or look at no tree because we have a new (stupid?) cat and don’t know what to do yet.

When we fall into that trap, we miss out on a lot of what makes Christmas so special. It isn’t about perfection, gourmet food, and color coordinated ornaments. It’s about sharing a special time of the year with our loved ones. It’s about sharing memories and making new ones. It’s about baking cookies, giving gifts, singing Christmas songs, hanging lights, sipping hot chocolate, and make more of those beautiful handmade ornaments with the kids. It’s about being a messy, loud, and happy family enjoying Christmas together.

Don’t let this idea of perfection take the joy of the holidays out of you. Go bake some cookies and make a big (bigger) mess. Hang those construction paper ornaments with pride. Get out all the kitschy little decorations that remind you of your childhood. Crank up those holiday’ tunes and then nestle up on the couch with some hot chocolate and sugar cookies to watch “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Who cares that there are crumbs in the blanket and one of the lights on your tree is out. What counts is that you’re having a good time. This year, instead of perfection, embrace coziness, happiness, and love. Merry Christmas!

P.S. Remember, there’s still time to set your vision for next year’s holiday season in the Free Vision Board Workshop. When you sign up, you receive:

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When Self-Talk Gets In The Way

tragedy_&_comedy

I think I’m doing well with my self-contract. I’m consistently getting up between 6:00 and 6:30 (on my way to 5:00!), I’m listening to subliminal recordings as I work on other things or run errands, and I just received my custom hypnosis CD yesterday and plan to start on it today. The place I’m falling down is updating the blog! I’m getting better at that, I promise!

In the meantime, I’ve been kind of down on myself about not staying caught up with working on my blog and I’ve started trying to pay attention to what’s going in my head, namely the really negative self-talk I beat myself up with. I decided to delve a little deeper…

What is Self-Talk?

Legendary sports announcer Chick Hearn

Legendary sports announcer Chick Hearn

Do you know that inner voice that always seems to be going? It is constantly “telling” you what you should do, what you might do, and reflecting on things you have already done. It evaluates what you do while you’re doing it, providing opinions and suggesting possible ramifications and outcomes. This is one type of inner monologue which psychologists have identified and labeled as “self-talk.”

To get a better idea of exactly what self-talk is, psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne likens self talk to the “equivalent of sports announcers commenting on a player’s successes or failures on the playing field.” Unlike athletes that never hear a television or radio sports commentator’s voice, you definitely “hear” what your self-talk is telling you.

Unfortunately, this voice you seem to have no control over can be negative sometimes (ok, usually).

Think about the last time you did something embarrassing. You may have experienced self-talk telling you how stupid you were. Sometimes it is critical even if you haven’t done anything wrong. It reminds you that you are probably going to mess something up, because you’ve done it in the past.

As it turns out, you can respond with negative and positive self-talk to the same situation. tragedy_&_comedy

It all depends on how you lead your thoughts. For instance, pretend that you have just eaten at a restaurant that all your friends think is amazing. You thought it was overpriced, the food was average at best, the service stunk, and you had to wait too long for your food.

You find yourself at a party with your friends, when several of them corner you and excitedly ask you what you thought about the restaurant they recommended. You tell them your feelings, holding nothing back. They all say you are crazy, that it is the greatest restaurant of all time.

Your inner dialogue can respond in 2 different ways.

Perhaps you tell yourself, “Why didn’t you just keep your mouth shut!? Now you look like an idiot.” In response to the exact same situation, you could choose positive, constructive self-talk instead. You could say, “Good for you, for sticking to your beliefs. You reported exactly what happened, you didn’t overstate the situation, and it’s okay if your friends disagree with you about this unimportant topic.” This is important! Reframing is a major way to feel happier and lower your overall stress level.

Psychologists believe that consistently driving your self-talk in a positive, constructive direction can train your mind to respond that way. At first you will not find yourself able to redirect your inner voice. It will simply blurt out a subconscious response. However, by continually appraising dysfunctional self-talk and turning it around, you create less stress in your life, boost your self-esteem, and feel good about your inner dialogue.