Self-Hypnosis: The Secret to Staving Off Holiday Stress

Woman in the woodsUnless you planned well ahead, managed to avoid the malls, and don’t intend to travel or host, you are probably feeling pressured, stressed out, and overwhelmed with all of the holiday hustle and bustle. Well, here is a great resource and tool to help you with those frenzied holiday happenings. In fact, it’s something that we all probably do naturally and don’t even think about—that is, allow ourselves to be relaxed through hypnosis.

Think back to when you were just starting to fall asleep last night. You probably felt a little groggy and woozy as you began to relax and unwind from the busy day. You were entering into the initial stages of hypnosis, a naturally occurring state. You can enter this state at other times as well, such as when you are daydreaming or so intently focused on something that you lose track of time and things around you.

So here is a way to enjoy your holiday season with more energy, peace, and pleasure. Take a moment to recognize that what is truly stressing you out is not what is happening around you but how you internalize and handle it. Your reaction to the holidays, various obligations, and the purchasing of gifts often causes even more stress.

Recently I was talking with a person who told me how stressful it is when he has decided on the one and only “perfect” gift for his wife and he is unable to find it. He admitted to losing sleep, not being able to focus at work, and becoming grouchy and difficult to be around. Another person commented that she gets very agitated, lacks sleep, and gets migraines when she thinks about cooking and cleaning in preparation for the holidays.

I suggested to both of them that instead of listening to that little voice or conversation in their heads saying “this is going to be stressful,” change their thinking and respond to the situation differently. Basically, if you change your internal response to those thoughts, feelings, and events, you will begin to appreciate a different, more pleasurable response both emotionally and physically.

With hypnosis, it really can be that simple.

To begin, write on a piece of paper your biggest stressor over the holiday season. Get a clear idea of what it is. Don’t rush the process, and be as specific as you can. The more specific you are, the better.

Next, on another piece of paper write down how this event could be less stressful—if, for example, cooking for the holidays is stressful for you, think of a way to make it fun and more enjoyable. If you had control, how would you prefer this stressful event or problem manifest during the holiday season? Write it down.

Tonight, as you are beginning to fall asleep, get a clear image/picture of what you want to change and what the desired outcome will look like. Think about what you wrote down earlier and envision it happening in your mind’s eye. Get a clear vision of the desired outcome while beginning to enter into natural hypnosis. Let your subconscious mind do the rest.

Your subconscious is more susceptible to suggestion, so why not make that suggestion positive? You do have control; just make your suggestions ones that will help relieve the stress of the holidays and associated events. This technique is of course effective the rest of the year as well. Try it for a week and notice the difference!

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Ann Marie Sochia, MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP, therapist in Cary, North Carolina

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Melanie

    Melanie

    December 22nd, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Call me weird but I think that I kind of thrive with all of the stress this time of year. I know I am crazy but I kind of like the hectic pace of it all- until I feel that little rush it really doesn’t seem like Christmas yet to me. I am goofy aren’t I?

  • Myrna B

    Myrna B

    December 22nd, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Do you even think that I could get away with simply refusing to have out of town guests at my house for the two weeks at the end of the year? I seriously think that everything would be better if they all didn’t seem to think that my house was some out of town hotel for them all to crash in. It used to be fun, but now there are just too many of us and yet they all seem to keep on coming. I need help with this in a BADDDD way!!

  • jermaine d

    jermaine d

    December 22nd, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    hard to believe Christmas is already upon us! yea it can get stressful but the technique you have spoken about could be helpful! yes it is the thoughts we have that cause stress more often than what is really happening. I shall try and adopt this method to help me remain calm during the next few days. i will get back with how it goes. cheers.

  • Glenna

    Glenna

    December 23rd, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Fabulous suggestions that I know that I will be using in the next few days or so!

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 24th, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Melanie,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are not as weird as you think! Many people like the rush of the holiday season. I personally like the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. But, I don’t especially like the lack of parking spaces or the pushy people in a hurry to get that perfect last minute gift.

    Happy Holidays.

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA, CHT, NLP, MS

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 24th, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Myrna,
    I understand the holidays can be a difficult time for many people and when out of town guests come can turn into an even harder time. I don’t know all of the facts of your situation so this is a shot in the dark. Would it possible to offer them a hotel suite/timeshare and pay for it or ask them to limit their stay to one week? No matter what I would take a deep breathe and find the positive in them visiting. Enjoy.

    Happy Holidays.

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA, CHT, NLP, MS

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 24th, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Jermaine,

    I am glad the tips were helpful. Please let me know how your holidays go.

    Happy Holidays.

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA, CHT, NLP, MS

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 24th, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Glenna,

    Thanks!

    Happy Holidays.

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA, CHT, NLP, MS

  • morris

    morris

    December 25th, 2014 at 4:15 AM

    I find that I am probably way too easily distracted to ever be a success with self hypnosis… however, I am not opposed to seeing a therapist for this if I thought that this could benefit me as I try to stop smoking in the new year. That has been a goal of mine for a long time and I have never quite been able to make it stick so this story planted a seed for me that there could still be something that I haven’t tried yet and that could still help me do it. Wish me luck!

  • Lilly

    Lilly

    December 26th, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    Sometimes you have to work hard to keep that critical little voice quiet on the inside.

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 26th, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Morris,

    I wouldn’t worry about being distracted and being able to be hypnotized…some of my more hypnotized clients are distractible. Yes, I woudl try it for Smoking Cessation…IT WORKS!

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA,CHT,NLP,MS

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    December 26th, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Lilly,

    I agree we all need to work hard sometimes to keep that critical voice inside from screaming on the outside. When that happens take a deep breath and relax and find the calm.

    Ann Marie Sochia LPCA,CHT,NLP,MS

  • Lilly

    Lilly

    December 27th, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Thanks Ann Marie! I am working on doing just that!

  • Allen

    Allen

    December 28th, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I imagine that this could work well for us no matter the time of year.
    it does not only have to be the fact that it is holiday stress that gets us down, it could be any kind of stress that is doing terrible things to the rest of our lives
    This could be a great coping mechanism for any of us, especially once we become able to harness in that stress and do something positive with it for a change
    I am pretty sure that for most of us this does not happen overnight but I think that if you make it into a habit, then you be successful with that process.

  • tilson

    tilson

    December 29th, 2014 at 4:21 AM

    I have never been all that convinced that hypnosis would ever work for me so I am doubly not sure that the power of suggesting something to myself would ever work either!

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    March 23rd, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    Allen,

    I agree this would work anytime and not just the holidays.

    Ann Marie

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    March 23rd, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    Tilson,

    I find that if you want it to work it is more likely to work. :)

    Thanks,

    Ann Marie

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