DIY Holiday Happiness

Posted by Juan Quien | Diciembre 12, 2018 | Blog

Is it just me or did Christmas lights start popping up the moment Halloween decorations went down? I was driving through my neighborhood Halloween evening when I saw a reindeer float laying in somebody’s lawn, just waiting for the trick or treaters to go away!


Ready or not, the Winter Holiday season is well upon us and New Year’s is right behind. This means family dinners, party planning and last-minute gift shopping that needs to get done, because heaven forbid you forget someone this year. But if the Holiday Seasons are supposed to be about family, love, giving, and all that, why are they always so damn stressful? And how do we deal with this stress? Life hits you with what I call Don’t Wants…. You’ve probably heard me talk about them by now. Here is an example of a major Holiday Don’t Want that hit someone close to me, let’s call him Sean…..

A few weeks ago Sean ordered a New Year’s present for a certain romantic interest, on a website that will not be named. Now, considering he is a text book procrastinator, six weeks early for a present is an achievement for him and he was so proud of himself! I mean come on -- he even paid for expedited two-day delivery. His plan was to have the package arrive, take it to a gift wrapper and then hide it until the time for unveiling comes. Foolproof plan, right?


You may have already guessed it, but his package wasn’t delivered after two days. Okay that’s fine -- things happen, he says. Maybe it got caught up in Cyber Monday mail traffic. He read somewhere that’s a thing, so he didn’t let himself get upset. A week later… the package still hadn't arrived! So he checked the tracking number that was sent to him via email receipt after the purchase.


Except, he never received an email receipt…


At this point his mind was racing and was completely convinced that the Holiday season was ruined. He cursed out the company, himself, and the Powers That Be behind-the-scenes who came up with such a wacky idea as Holidays and gift-giving in the first place. As you can tell, he wasn’t handling the situation very well. He was in reaction-mode. Not only that, he was so caught up in his reaction that he couldn’t move past the Don’t Want and figure out how to respond.


But you know what? That’s okay. That’s what it means to be human: to be human is to react. And that’s exactly what he told himself. He had taken my weekend of Seeing, Changing and Doing and was SEEING himself enough to know that he was going through a Don’t Want, and it was normal that he was reacting right then. But he got stuck there for a second, and said to himself, what’s next?


Well, what’s next isn’t that important because recognizing he was in a reaction and knowing he could Blame It On His Brain, was a critical first step. Everything else was easy once he got there. He did a quick See. Change. Do. worksheet and by the time he got to the end of the worksheet the solution was simple. He stepped out of reaction zone and got a clear next step, which was to go to the store and buy a back-up gift in case his delivery did not arrive in time.


‘Tis the season of Don’t Wants and reactions, but it’s especially hard to be aware of your reactions to Don’t Wants when there’s so much going on. Whether you’re left alone to clean up after the holiday dinner, or you’re standing in an impossibly long line on Christmas Eve waiting to get back to your family, your brain will jump in Fight, Flight, or Freeze mode and tell you to REACT!!  Luckily, now you know Don’t Wants are as much a part of life as breathing and that you now have the tools to respond instead of react.


If you are facing a holiday don’t-want, take a deep breath, recognize that you may be reacting and acknowledge that there’s a Don’t Want present. SEE that you are in a Don’t Want and Blame it on Your Brain!! Your amygdala, the pre-evolution lizard brain, can’t tell the difference between annoying holiday stress and an actual, life-threatening interaction. It is designed to REACT in the exact same way regardless of what’s going on. Those reactions will always be overblown. And that’s okay, because you’re only human.


Remember, even though the Holiday season may seem to be especially tailored to stress you out, you can take control of your happiness. The first step to taking control of your holiday happiness is to SEE that you are in a reaction, and then Blame it on Your Brain. Now, are you ready for those Don’t Wants?


P.S. Sean’s gift-package arrived in the mail on time! All that stressing was for nothing.