Tag Archives: acts of kindness

Christmas stress and difficult people.

Day 3 In the series of the Christmas Countdown on getting the better of Christmas Stress.

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How do you deal with DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

Part and parcel of Christmas stress is ‘expectation and experience’ in the run-up to Christmas.    And last week we looked at ways to help you to handle the pressure.

Then in blog two, we looked at Loneliness at Christmas. I included some web links if you are somebody who would like to have a community involvement, as well a list of what some people enjoy if they decide to have a quiet day at home, or go away.

Welcome to this week and blog 3 of this 6-part series.

How do you deal with DIFFICULT relatives or friends?

Avoid Christmas stress

Christmas stress: “what have I forgotten now!”

Avoiding Christmas stress isn’t easy when we are dealing with the individual emotions and expectations. So how do you usually deal with ‘difficult people’ co-ordinating family visits, or the overwhelming demands on your limited spare time?

Sometimes the day arrives, and we can feel downright bored, hemmed in because we have to live up to what we think are the expectations for our behaviour on the day. And before you know it out comes the old arguments or teasing that feels uncomfortable.        Agggh!

Okay, so we need to get through this people. After all, we want everybody to enjoy their Christmas and get something that they will enjoy. Don’t we? (A-ha, there’s the rub!)

There may be a caveat to this!

If some things go wrong, we can find ourselves following old conditioning and start playing the blame game. Either blaming others or even putting ourselves down as inadequate.

Keep in mind that this can be an automatic learned response.

Something fascinating happens when families get together. We’re with people we love and care about, and yet by the end of the day, we can find we are tearing our hair out.

Each of your siblings appears to regress into old childhood or teenage behaviours? And that includes you! Disagreements surface and arguments start.

Past hurts flare up as everyone reverts to well-worn practiced habits from the past.

Christmas stress and the learned roles from childhood that forged the family identity.

Parents may find themselves reverting to an authority role (over their now adult children!) While siblings may start returning to their rebellious childhood phase, not being bothered to help out or lording it over the younger siblings.

Some people go into an adaptive childhood state looking for ways to fit in by taking on the role of the clown, or the pacifier.  Whatever was part of the family dynamics it can become exhausting and very stressful.

As adults out in the big-wide-world, these behavioural patterns would have been modified because new skills have been learned in how to get along with others. Some adults will have gone on to have families of their own.

Occasions like Christmas and the original family unit can be a trigger for past identities to resurface again.

In the grown-up state, we can find more balanced ways of interacting.

We just need to stop falling into the past and stay present. Mindfulness might describe this adult way of behaving as being in the moment.

How do I STOP myself from being a pain? How do I deal with others who are playing up!

Well, first of all, you now know what may potentially be going on.  And with this knowledge its ultra-important that you DO NOT start telling other people that they are behaving like a child.

Seriously don’t you’ll only live to regret it! Remember we are talking about automatic learned responses.

Let’s call it an environmental trigger that causes you, your siblings and your parents, even friends, to enter into familiar ‘trance states.’ These states can bring to the surface old habitual behaviour patterns.

Ideas?

When you start to change, others may follow.

If there was a way to catch yourself or bring to your awareness a reminder of what may be going on then you could imagine something like a red STOP sign or even pressing a big FREEZE-FRAME button. Include a relaxation breathing technique and you may find yourself on the way to reducing the heightened emotion.

You can sign up for the giveaway guide, click here which was offered on day one of the Christmas Countdown series.

Your growing understanding can be influential in helping to de-escalate your stressful feelings more quickly than before. A walk in the fresh air can pace away those stress hormones too! Even walking the dog!

In relation to another person’s behaviour, reassess before criticising, giving advice or correcting them.

If bickering begins saying something quietly like, ‘hey let’s stop it’s Christmas’ or using humour that means something good for you both might help to de-escalate a situation.  If someone privately asks for your advice about something offer it but use tact at all times.

Healthy regression:

What do you enjoy doing with Mum or Dad? With other relatives or friends? Could this be part of the day’s activities?  And if Mum, a significant other, or friend has done all the cooking how do you offer to help out in rebalancing that effort on the day?

Better still –  it’s Christmas we’re all adults let’s pre-plan.

The following information is not comprehensive but gives an outline of what some people choose to do.

Pre-planning is vital to ensure that everybody (as adults) are getting the Christmas they want.

As an adult, you may have a life of your own with a partner, best friends, or want to spend specific time with your children. Singles may want to go to events or organise some ‘me time.’ Those things you’d love to do to wind down after a busy year.

Being authentic about your own needs also means showing your love in how you’d organise some flexibility to ensure that you make contact with older relatives during the holiday season.  In person, across Skype or on the phone.

The older generation may also have activities that they would enjoy doing over the holiday. Would they like to have the flexibility to travel to different members of the family on different days? Taking a break from the old traditional parental ‘cooking and hosting’ duties. What else is going on in your local area? As an example search for ideas Click here to see what’s happening in Kew Gardens for Christmas in 2017.

Not every celebration means that everybody needs to pile back to the original family home.

Gentle and loving conversations.

Having balanced adult conversations NOW could help in accommodating what’s essential to each person and how they would like to spend their Christmas.

For example, it might lead to an agreed schedule for who needs to go where and when across the holiday season. Doing this with love could break old destructive patterns and create new ‘progressive,’ not ‘regressive’ experiences.

“Create new ‘progressive,’ not ‘regressive’ experiences.”

Christmas Stress dissolves

Christmas stress begins to dissolve

I wonder what the outcome could be if we let past mistakes be bygones threw in a soupçon of compassion and forgiveness on the day.  By focusing on enjoying those good things and gifts around us. Maybe the experience would turn out much better than ever before.

Practice a sense of thanksgiving. As the year is coming to an end what can we also be thankful for?

A bit of positive psychology at this time of year could be a good thing. Tomorrow making it a fun Christmas means ditching the pressure of perfection and letting go of the worry from expectation.

Just how different would Christmas be for you if you could take each moment as it comes?

Until then, thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page.

 

Happy List releases stress

Your Emotional Needs

Audio duration: 08:20 : Reading duration 10.00

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Acts of Kindness

The Happy List

 

The Happy List represents celebrating those who give kindness and compassion to change the lives of others in their communities, and it just reminds me of how great humanity can be.

During this challenging year in the UK and across the globe, it’s good to be reminded about all the acts of selflessness through kindness that humans are capable of too. So, it was with some joy that I settled down to view The Independents happy list of 50 of the top unsung heroes in the UK, chosen by the public *

Now, we know that great acts of kindness can literally change people’s lives, but have you ever thought about how even one smaller act can help you or another feel happier during your day? Acts don’t have to be large to make a difference to another, or to give you a lovely feeling.

Hers’s a quick pick from the happy list, where so many different types of people are helping their communities. And there in no particular order(!)

KAPOW!

* Sourced from on-line Independent Newspaper UK.

Happy List 44.

Doing great work in my home city, Michelle set up a self-funded group to empower disadvantaged, and the disabled, with sport, education, employable skills and personal development.

MPower*, has become a major Liverpool city project

“Every day we work with our clients and they leave happy and smiling” Quote Live BBC Breakfast News  25th June 2017

Happy List  48

Cliff, the friendly postman in South London who cheers up his community by taking time out to chat and really get to know his customers, and whose positive outlook is infectious on the community spirit. They say… “he’s one in a million” 

Happy List 23

At 95 Brian organises a volunteer’s initiative called ‘strictly tea dance’ to help address social isolation for older people.

Happy List 33

Whilst, the much younger Oliver used his IT skills and created an app to help groups of younger people meet to eat and chat and combat loneliness in London.

Happy List 49

How about things you’d usually pass by in the street.  Well, Steve decided to get creative with pot holes in the road, to cheer people up.

Steve creates mini garden potholes in many cities in the UK which just makes passers-by smile!  The “Holes of Happiness” project!”

Happy List 11

Josh goes around his city giving free haircuts to homeless people. Encouraging self-dignity to grow. “#Do something for Nothing”, he aims is to help make the invisible feel visible, and it’s a growing global network.

What’s the reward?

Happy list - work in a team & feel great

Kitchen Staff In Homeless Shelter

All these people who give so much, also receive something very powerful and well-deserved in return.

I can’t generalise on what it means to each of them, as they may not be looking for a reward, and they will all have their own unique reasons… However,

 

Human Givens – a personal happy list to explore

I’m reminded of something called the ‘human givens,’ which is a list of human needs that, when given attention to, can help us feel that we are experiencing a more fulfilling life.

Sounds like an interesting way to create our own happy list! Be that a sense of meaning and purpose, or belonging to something greater than our self, and therefore life can feel enriched.

A few of  the human givens are:

The need for community and making a contribution

This means that we’re sustaining a need that gives us a reason for being, which is much more than just our own personal needs.

Interesting to note that doing this also increases the health of the givers immune system as well as their mental health. Which boosts a general feeling of happiness.

So, some people find happiness in volunteering in a community project, using their DIY skills, or give professional advice for free, or challenging local issues.

Whatever it would be which contributes towards the people, animals or other things in your local community which helps to make it more of a loving place.

How does the receiver gain?

Here are a few of the human givens which I associated with what I imagine to be the outcome of receiving the acts of kindness as mentioned on the happy list above.

The need to give and receive attention

Social isolation can have a detrimental effect on mental health and emotional well-being. Leading to poor behaviour and potential personal neglect.

Most people need some form of regular contact and quality time with other people. A bit of fun, and mental stimulation does wonders in keeping us physically active and emotionally secure.

The need for safety and protection

If our environment feels insecure or dangerous, then mental health will suffer.

This also applies to our basic needs being met around, financial security, job prospects, as well as physical safety.

When these needs are met through opportunities, which enable people to feel more in control, they can start to move forward again, even if it’s at a steady pace. Simply put this can be quite liberating to self-confidence.

The need for challenge and creativity

happy list learn to juggle?

Leaning into a challenge

 

This can range from simple things like enjoying hobbies, to becoming more proficient through a training scheme. Or just to have a go at something new,

Learning something new, discovering ways to develop an idea, or growing our potential means different things to different people.

It’s what gets the juices going without causing negative stress, and it’s a way of turning stress on its head.  Up-stress is a positive feeling which makes you want to spring out of bed in the morning.

 

A feeling of progression, and growing belief in yourself has a way of  lifting your self-esteem and self-worth.

Why?

Because it brings with it  a feeling or sense that we have meaning and purpose to our existence.

‘It’s like Exploration with a sense of Curiosity.’ Maria

By stretching our boundaries just a little bit at a time, it means we can find out if something is the right fit for us.  So, there is no pressure in a negative way because we can let go of unrealistic expectation!

The need for intimacy

This is not necessarily a romantic ‘intimacy’ – although that can be nice at increasing those good endorphin hormones too!

This is just about having that one person, close family, close group of friends, or favoured pet with whom we can share time.

That includes our sensible or off the wall ideas, our doubts to encourage support, our hopes and our dreams for a future that is fulfilling.

And also, just to squeeze in spending time with and for ourselves, otherwise known as ‘me-time’ is really important too, in our need for privacy.

Your own happy list?

Get happy list take action

Create your happy list

Is it time to start making improvements in your own emotional needs? If like me, you want to cherish the good feelings that your own personal happy list could bring.

Whilst we’re at it, what could we be doing, no matter how small, to help make someone else’s day that bit sweeter too. You never know they may just ‘pay that kind act forward’

  1. Time to get out that pen and paper or voice record those ideas straight into your phone app.
  2. How would you schedule in one small incremental action a day, which will continue to encourage you to GO FOR IT!
  3. When you build on those actions daily they embed like a really good habit, so that each day you’ll find you’re getting closer to fulfilling your happy list, and your emotional needs.

Wishing you and yours a fulfilling journey ahead.

And of course, should you wish to explore more about your values, your strengths and what would give you more meaning in your life you can always try out some coaching.

Contact me link

This Blog’s Sources:

If you’d like to see the full list follow the external link to the happy list as produced by The Independent Newspapers.

“In these anxious, unsettled times, let’s celebrate those who do their bit to help make a better Britain.”  Quote Independent 2017

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-independents-happy-list-2017-a7797851.html#gallery

Michelle Smith MPower people in Liverpool   http://www.mpowerpeople.co.uk/services/

Josh Coombes  #DoSomethingForNothing

The Human Givens Institute