Author and Grief Specialist Paula Shaw shares her tips for keeping calm during the holiday season, after experiencing a loss.
We’ve been seeing Christmas decorations for sale in our local stores since Halloween, but now we really can’t deny it: Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season is officially upon us. And now that we’re in the thick of it, we’re forced to face the inevitable downside of “the most wonderful time of the year.”
The holidays are pretty demanding for everyone, but they are particularly difficult for those of us who have dealt with some kind of loss this year. Whether you’ve lost your home, your job, your best friend, your identity, a life-long mate or life-long savings, you are dealing with a lot of extra emotional baggage at a time when you’re supposed to look like a joyful character in an idyllic Norman Rockwell painting. This isn’t easy. In fact, it’s very painful. I know what it’s to feel like you’re the only one on Earth who isn’t Holiday Happy.
You try to muster up the energy to go to your office holiday party, but it just isn’t there; everything feels like work. Even a trip to the grocery store sounds like a Herculean feat. You never seem to feel rested, let alone enthusiastic. The truth is that dealing with emotional pain is exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to grieve.
That’s why I want to share with you some things you can do to help conserve your energy at this time of year. It’s important to keep your energy balanced and strong.
One of my favorite calming methods is the Head and Heart Breath. Start by placing the middle fingers of one hand on the side of the eye (Gall Bladder Meridian point) – not on your temple, but right on the bone at the side of the eye. The three fingers of the other hand should be placed on the Conception 19 point in the center of the sternum (on the upper chest, a bit lower than the collarbone). Cross your ankles, close your eyes and simply breathe. This breath synchronizes the energy and calms the body.
Try it with both sides (first, the left hand on the side of the eye point, then the right). Most people find one side works really well for them and the other is kind of neutral. To see a demonstration, watch this video: http://vimeo.com/50717808
Next, this is a great, simple process for helping to shift depression, anxiety, sadness and low energy. It’s called the Side of the Eye Tapping Method. This method is pretty straightforward. Just focus on whatever is stressing you. See it as clearly as possible and feel the painful feelings it creates. Then tap the points on the side of the eye (right on the bone) for 3 minutes or more, until the feelings start to dissipate.
Many people find it counter-intuitive to focus on the negative when you are trying to feel better, but try thinking of it this way: when you’re working on your computer, if you type a sentence and want to delete it, you have to highlight it first so the computer will know what to delete. In the same way, focusing on the negative feelings highlights for the subconscious mind and the energy system what you want to neutralize or eliminate from your thinking and life experience.
This simple method has been studied while doing an MRI in real time. It was observed that tapping these Meridian points sends calming signals to the Amygdala, which is the part of your brain that prepares you for fight, flight or freeze responses. Sending calming signals to the Amygdala while focusing on the pain-producing emotion has the eventual effect of ‘re-wiring’ the brain, so the painful focus no longer elicits the sad or anxious emotions.
Embrace the grief and process it. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: feel whatever feelings come up and express them as close to the time you feel them as possible. Here are some ideas about how to do this.
This is the season of holiday madness and you must really be conscious of pacing yourself and your activities. If you let yourself get exhausted, you’re much more likely to eat or drink to excess, which can produce unwelcome drama. Try to let moderation be your mantra – and don’t be afraid to say, “NO.” This year, it’s okay to turn down invitations and put your Christmas-elf-self on the shelf. So if holiday cheer’s got you down, don’t worry…take care of yourself and know that it won’t last forever.
If you’ve found the tips I’ve been sharing with you helpful, you will want to register for my Free Holiday Webinar on December 10th at 6:00 p.m. PST. There is a registration form on the events page of this website www.paulashaw.com. Please sign up now. I look forward to seeing you there. Wishing you peaceful holidays.
PAULA SHAW, CADC, DCEP is an author, Energy Psychology specialist, therapist, speaker, Reiki Master and Grief Counselor. For more than 20 years, Paula has been passionate about empowering people who are dealing with profound loss, so they can reap something truly beautiful from their pain. She also helps clients who are going through major life transitions or seeking freedom from self-destructive addictions. She has degrees in Education and Communications from Long Beach State University, as well as graduate counseling credentials from Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the founding members of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and currently serves on its board of directors. Paula is the auther of Chakras, the Magnificent Seven (2002), as well as the upcoming book When Will This Pain Ever End? Finding Your Way out of the Pit of Despair after Suffering Profound Grief and Loss, which will be released in the spring of 2015.
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PAULA SHAW, CADC, DCEP is an author, Energy Psychology specialist, therapist, speaker, Reiki Master and Grief Counselor. For more than 20 years, Paula has been passionate about empowering people who are dealing with profound loss, so they can reap something truly beautiful from their pain. She also helps clients who are going through major life transitions or seeking freedom from self-destructive addictions. She has degrees in Education and Communications from Long Beach State University, as well as graduate counseling credentials from Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the founding members of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and currently serves on its board of directors. Paula is the author of Chakras, the Magnificent Seven (2002), as well as "Grief...When Will This Pain Ever End?" Finding Your Way out of the Pit of Despair After Profound Loss.
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