Posted by

Victoria Lagodinsky

December 22, 2014


Although Christmas is supposed to be a time for relaxation and enjoyment it can often be a time of stress, because you are trying to make it perfect. Here we give you the best de-stressing tips and exercises from Mike George’s You Can Relax and Overcome Stress to help you get through the big day.

Silencing the Buzz

Free-Floating anxiety is, for many of us, a constant companion. We may have become so used to hearing the background buzz of worry that we do not even acknowledge its presence. This visualisation exercise is designed to help you identify this hum, and banish it – at least temporarily, until the next time worry starts to invade your outlook.

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Imagine that you are walking down a path in a serene forest. Soon, you come across a clearing. Walk slowly to the centre of the glade and sit down.
  • As if from nowhere, animals surround you. They mean no harm, but each represents a concern. The larger the animal, the greater your anxiety. For example, a fleet-footed gazelle may represent a work deadline, a roaring lion, trouble with a relationship.
  • In one part of the glade is a beehive. Bees swarm near by, making the hum of free-floating worry.
  • Gently, touch each of the animals. As you do so they quieten and disappear into the forest. The only sound left is the buzz of the bees.
  • Imagine all your tiny worries one by one entering the hive, until the glade is silent. Your worries are still, your concerns will be dealt with another day. All around is peace.

Emotional amnesty: a 3 stage declaration

Make a list of ten people or situations that are undermining your ability to relax by provoking negative emotions. Using the following procedure, attend to these one at a time, perhaps devoting a few evenings to each one. However, do not spend too long trying to sift the rights and wrongs: remember most situations have a shared cause.

Set aside time in the evening. Relax in a chair, eyes closed. Empty your mind; let go of your preoccupations one by one. Imagine a pitch-black night. Think of this interlude as a watershed in your life, an empty pause between phases.

Summarise the essence of the problem to yourself. Conjure up the issued in visual form if possible. Resolve that you are going to be able to contemplate this image in the future without emotion.

Declare peace with the situation. It is no longer a grievance or source of anxiety. Imagine a jagged blip on a screen being levelled to a continuous line.

Day-to-day karma

Meditate, once a week, on the virtues of someone you know. Begin with someone you like, then try the same exercise with someone for whom you have negative feelings. The next time you see these people, try to recall all the good things that you found in them.

Make a positive gesture of kindness in an unexpected encounter. If you bump into someone you know in the street, offer to help them carry their shopping, or buy them a coffee so that you can talk for a while. Don’t let time be your jailer.

Offer gifts spontaneously. The next time you go on vacation, buy lots of small presents without having specific people in mind. Carry a few around with you to give away on a whim.

Prepare kindness if you have a meeting planned with someone whom you have never met before. Give them a gesture of appreciation for the time they have set aside for you. For example, you might arrive at a meeting carrying refreshments.

For more ways to destress, read You Can Relax and Overcome Stress by Mike George.