Want to Relieve Holiday Stress? Find the Peace Within You

Ever heard the saying “It’s not about fun – it’s about family!”?

Holidays are a time when friends and families gather together as one giant community to eat, drink and be merry. December inspires us to wish for a peaceful season, peace in our hearts and peace on Earth.

With all those beautiful intentions dancing like sugarplums in our heads, why do so many of us fall to pieces during the holidays?

No, don’t blame the malls, traffic or what happened on Thanksgiving. During the holidays, expressions of unhappiness are often communicated as expressions of blame. But blaming does not create merriment or a spirit of love.

Sure, the majority of families are dysfunctional and emotionally impaired. Add a sprinkle of holiday stress, a shot of 300% eggnog and a touch of overeating and voila: merry, merry chaos!

We all have at least one, and some of us have more than one, button-pushing family member. Life demands tremendous awareness and self-control not to “go there” when someone says something rude, mean-spirited or down-right belligerent and cruel.

“It’s not about fun – it’s about family!” (Yes, you can make this your merry mantra, but only if you commit to smiling and giggling when you think it, say it, live it, love it.)

If you have a wet donut of dread sitting in your stomach as you contemplate the holidays, please know you’re not alone.

Like moths to a flame, the nasty bits in people are attracted to you because you’re bright and cheerful. You’re a mirror. As you show compassion toward yourself for your dark thoughts of hurt and anger, reach even deeper and feel compassion for the person lashing out. They see a reflection – their own – and react in fear, judgment and self-loathing.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall” is a powerful rallying cry for when you want to cry because your feelings are hurt or you’re angry and disappointed.

Life IS merry and the holidays are intended to be fun and joyful. Want those family members to change and behave? Show them the love you wish to see in the world.

As you face the malls and the mother-in-laws of the world, suit up with Qigong so you’re ready to “shake it off” when Scrooge comes to town.

That peace you want is within you. “It’s not about fun – it’s about family” is a light-hearted way of reminding us of the true spirit of the season.

We are ALL family members in this human race called life. Each and every one. Bring Peace to the world by making your own life peaceful. Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year!


About the Author

author image

Chris Shelton is a certified practitioner and teacher with 15 years of clinical experience in Qigong, an ancient holistic health modality that combines traditional Chinese medicine with movement, breath and visualization. He’s helped thousands of people across the United States and around the world reclaim their health and enjoy lives free from chronic pain. Chris has worked with Special Olympics teams, professional martial artists, weight lifters and celebrities looking for deeper meaning in their lives. Chris’ belief in the healing powers of Qigong is rooted in first-hand experience. As a teenager he suffered from a devastating back injury that left him in constant pain and partially paralyzed. He attributes his full recovery to Qigong, a holistic approach perfect for people who want non-invasive, affordable and empowering healthcare.Chris’ work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and been featured on radio and television. He is founder of Morning Crane Healing Arts Center in San Jose, California, and the author of Qigong for Self-Refinement. Chris is often found chasing after his favorite herd of turtles: his wife, four kids and one grandkid. His second book, Ancient Medicine, Modern Miracles: Tools for Healing, Eliminating and Preventing Disease, is currently being read by publishers.

Read more from Chris Shelton

Sign Up for MariaShriver.com's Weekly Must-Read

More Posts from Architects of Change