The majority of people look forward to the holidays. They feel excited and hopeful that they will be surrounded by love and good will. Oftentimes this dream comes true! But, sometimes people become stirred up by being with the family. Buttons get pushed and family members become reactive to each other. Holiday time can be stressful if we allow ourselves to be triggered and reactive to our family members.
Give yourself a talking to while you are preparing the food you will take to your family dinner! This “conversation” should remind you to focus on your own behavior, your own interactions, and not on the interactions and behaviors of others. You will digest the emotional experience of being with the family more easily if you keep your attention on yourself. Be who you want to be within the family and don’t react to triggers from others! This is how you will protect your emotions and be able to leave the gathering enveloped with that desired feeling of warmth and good will.
There is a lot of food to digest at holiday dinners but remember we also digest experience. In our book Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way Sandra and I write about digesting experiences. We recommend the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation to help us with this task. The TM technique has been shown to remove stresses from the physiology and regular meditators are less reactive to others. They also recover from all types of stressors more quickly than non-meditators. Read Chapter 9 in our book to learn more about the amazing benefits of the TM technique.
The mind, body and spirit is one seamless energetic system and no matter where we intervene we affect the totality. We also suggest you not overeat this holiday season. If you eat too much you’ll end up feeling sluggish and tired. After all, your body doesn’t know about holidays—it only knows that suddenly it is expected to process an unusual amount of food. Of course it is going to have trouble with this task and leave you feeling fatigued.
According to Ayurveda (and modern medicine) if we overtax our system and don’t fully digest our food we build up residue. Is it any wonder that January is the time that depression often announces its presence? Yes, depression happens for a wide variety of reasons, but overeating and overdrinking during the holidays can be one of the variables for the onset of depression.
This holiday season strive to interact with all family members from a grounded state of being. In the end, the only thing that can deeply bother you is your own behavior—so react from a calm place. And pace yourself with eating and drinking! If you follow these prescriptions you’ll have a blessed and joyful holiday! We wish you the best!