Emotion Regulation for the Holidays

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Some of the Emotion Regulation skills could be especially helpful to us during the holidays. We sometimes face difficult situations or memories, and perhaps this review of some of the skills can help.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to practice the skills for
Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind, that state where we are ruled by our Emotion Mind, instead of our Wise Mind, which is a blend of our thinking, feeling and reasoning skills.

To be at our best in dealing with our emotions, remember:
treat PhysicaL illness
balance Eating
avoid mood Altering drugs
balance Sleep
get Exercise
build M A S T E R y

If we are feeling sick, hungry, tired or under the influence of drugs, or if we are not doing something during the day that gives us the feeling of accomplishment or mastery, we are more likely to be vulnerable to negative emotions, to experience or see the negative, and and less able to handle well situations and interactions that we have, or to handle them in Wise Mind rather than out of Emotion Mind. So check these things. Make sure that you
are eating well and getting enough sleep and the other things, to be in the best shape you can be in to deal with what's happening.

Increasing Positive Emotions

Do what you can to increase your positive emotional experiences during this holiday period. This does not mean to ignore your negative or difficult emotions, or that those experiences aren't important. But it is also important to open the door to positive experiences. You deserve to have positive emotions and positive experiences.

Find some ways to have fun.

Work on relationships.
Repair old relationships. Maybe call a friend that you haven't seen for awhile. Or make amends in a relationship where there has been conflict.

Reach out for new relationships. Maybe in one of these fun events you are doing or attending there will be someone whom you can chat with, invite for coffee or a walk. Maybe you can reach out to someone online.

Attend to current relationships. You make the first move. Invite someone for a video or popcorn. See the New Year in with someone. Telephone your sister. Have a little party or a group snowball fight.

Remember that you deserve and can have good relationships.

Be Present to and Mindful of the Positive
Focus your attention on the positives around you. Think of something good that has happened this holiday season. Did you see an old friend? Get a special present? Is there something going on right now, or about to happen today that is really good or fun? Focus on it. Be fully present. Notice everything about it. Stay in the here and now.

Be Unmindful of Worries.

Don't give attention and air time to worries about the positive things. Distract yourself from thinking that you don't deserve a nice time, a good friend, a good present, fun in the snow. You deserve to enjoy all those things and more.

Don't worry about when the positive thing will end. That takes away from your pleasure now. Enjoy it right now.

Don't think about what might be expected of you because of the positive event that's happening now. You aren't going to experience something bad because something good is happening now. You don't have to pay for it later. You deserve it now.

And remember that by being mindful of and enjoying the positive event now, you are not ignoring your pain, anger and fear, you are just making room for some positive experiences to be in your life too.

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