We’ve all been sold an improbable idea of Christmas: the annual get-together with a loving, respectful close-knit family, filled with laughter and joy. Into the mix, add gifts and food. Lots and lots of perfect gifts and delicious foods.
Does that sound like your family? Not exactly mine either. 😂
Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
Coming back into reality, what is something we can do to reduce our anxiety when we are part of a very un-Hallmark moment? And can we do anything beforehand that would help?
This is one stress reduction technique I’ve employed frequently and can now jump into my parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) fairly quickly. The PSNS is the rest and digest, rejuvenate and connect side of the nervous system.
I call it side eyes.
This movement can be done lying down, sitting, or standing. Eyes are open. Nothing but your eyes move. People often forget to keep their head straight so doing it lying down the first time can be helpful. All you do, in a relaxed way, is look to your right (or left). Not a stressful or straining look. Blink naturally. Continue to look until you swallow, sigh, or yawn, or 30 seconds – 3 minutes have passed.
I suggest starting with 30 seconds. Even 30 seconds feels like a long time. Then repeat on the left (or right) side. If wanted, each side can be repeated.
The first few times you do it, you might not notice a change. That’s fine. Doing it, even if you don’t swallow, sigh, or yawn, builds a connection with the PSNS.
Are you wondering how this is related to stress reduction? Ideally, we switch between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems as needed. However, if we’ve been living in alert/fight/flight, and not switching between that and relaxation/recover, then the ability to switch is more difficult. Think of it like a muscle. This activity reawakens that ability and reduces the time to switch.
So easy to do almost anywhere.
Have a well-regulated week!