Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Stress? It can make or break that holiday enjoyment. Not feeling the joy of the season because there is too much to do! Or maybe you are overwhelmed by the number parties and activities to attend.

Watch and get a few tips to stress less this holiday season!

 

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ID-10099572A woman walks into the mall to go Christmas shopping when suddenly she feels a sense of dread, her hands get sweaty, her heart beats faster and she feels like she is going to die.

Or a man has to give a short speech at the office holiday party and all he can think about is how humiliating this will be, he feels sick with tension.

Between family gatherings, pressure to spend money, kids returning from college, work disruption and holiday events, we don’t always feel like we are having a holly, jolly Christmas or that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Some people feel all out panic and become immobilized. Others work their way through the season with little comfort or joy. So when holiday anxiety grips us, what can we do? Do we dive into the Christmas goodies, shop until we drop, drink to calm our  nerves, or avoid the parties and activities all together? Hopefully, we do none of the above.

Instead, we find the courage to face the fear. That’s right. In order to treat those anxious feelings, we stay in the situation, work through our discomfort until we tolerate it.

So our woman at the mall, recognizes those feelings of panic and tells herself, she is uncomfortable but will not die. She will feel anxious but can ride that anxiety like an ocean wave–it comes but it will go. She can make it through those feelings. Our man who has to give the speech, feels the tension but tells himself he can give the speech. Both know that the best treatment is to expose themselves to the anxiety, not avoid it.

Facing your fears allows you to actually work through the anxiety and become more confident to master it. To change your anxiety, change your behavior. Stay present, don’t avoid. And remember that when you are anxious, God is an ever present help in those troubled times. Ask Him to give you the courage to face the fear and walk you through it.

ID-100160820The holidays are upon us and everyone has at least one family member they consider a little bit difficult. But what if the difficulty has created an uncomfortable distance that will be felt when you all sit down for the family meal or celebration?

Relationship repair is needed. So where do you start?

1) Begin with your thoughts. If all you do is have negative thoughts about the person, you will feel more negative. Your thoughts affect your emotions and your emotions affect your behavior. So begin by thinking about some positive aspect of the person. Do what Scripture tells us, think on something good.

2) Next, decide how you would like to approach the person. “I know we haven’t talked much. This is probably awkward for you too, but I would like to make this work better if we can.”

3) Then say something positive about the person. “One thing I always notice about you is how kind you are to mom,” or “I know you are a fantastic cook and that doesn’t go unnoticed.” The more you focus on the positive behavior (just like the thoughts), the more positive you feel.

4) Start with small talk. Be respectful, kind and comment on how nice it is to have a conversation again.

5) Whatever the cause of the disruption or rift, apologize. Own your part of the problem. Tell the person you are sorry and want to be on speaking terms again, or make things right.

6) Offer this–if you want to talk about it sometime, I am open. Leave the decision to go deeper up to the other person. You may or may not get a response, but you’ve offered. Reconciliation takes the willingness of two people.

7) End by expressing your willingness to be in a relationship again, your care for the person and desire to stay in touch.

The good news is that even if you don’t get the responses you want, you made an effort to repair the problem. Pray and ask God to work on the other person’s heart as well. A little kindness goes farther than you think!

ID-10046809-2I’ve heard my daughter say that having a brother has helped her understand men. She feels comfortable being around men her age, in part, due to being raised with a brother.

We know from previous research that having opposite sex siblings helps you feel more socially competent with peers. But what about romantic relationships? Does having opposite sex siblings also make you feel more competent in romance?

Researchers at Penn State University decided to study this question. They enlisted 190 families over a five-year period to follow and study. They wanted to know–does having opposite sex siblings help or hurt romantic relationships, or does it even make a difference?

Apparently the answer is YES. The teens and young adults who had opposite sex siblings felt their siblings helped their social development in terms of feeling competent in romantic relationships. And those teens and young people with same sex siblings did not indicate a change (increase) in their romantic competencies. However, the results only indicate that a person perceives him or herself to be more competent in romantic relationships. Whether they actually are more romantically competent could be studied as well.

It only makes sense–sharing bathrooms, dealing with conflict, working through differences with an opposite sex sibling can only help you feel better prepared for romantic partners of the opposite sex.

Ok so I guess it is time for a big thanks  to my brothers–you helped boost my confidence for romance even though it didn’t feel like that at the time!!!