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Trading Expectations for Appreciation

health & vitality leadership & impact love & relationships mind & meaning May 31, 2022

For many of us, the holiday season involves getting together with family members and friends, whether in-person or virtually. This can bring much joy and excitement, and it can also induce stress. 

When you think about the holidays, what emotions come up for you? Are you concerned about the things you need to do (e.g., gifts to buy or meals to prepare), family dynamics or other issues?   

Some of you might be concerned or anxious about being with family and friends. And, this stress can get in the way of truly enjoying the holidays.

We all have certain expectations about how things should be and how people should behave, and when these expectations are not met, we tend to experience depleting emotions such as frustration, irritation, anger, and disappointment.  

For example, a woman I spoke with yesterday mentioned that she's anxious about seeing her husband's family because they are negative and judgmental.

How can you effectively navigate potentially difficult conversations when reuniting with family and friends? 

First and foremost, you need to be conscious of your own reactions. If you’re hurt and angry about any particular topics, then consider that the real source of your suffering isn’t the other people, it’s the meaning or significance that you are choosing to give to those interactions or issues in your life. 

So, managing your feelings is the first step to creating a quality conversation. If you notice some depleting emotions showing up, take a moment to get coherent before you react to an inflammatory statement. Be curious and consider why the other person might be saying or doing what they are. Chances are that they are doing the best they can in that moment. This curious and compassionate approach allows you to tune into and acknowledge the person's underlying energy (such as fear or stress), rather than focus on their words or actions, which can lessen their resistance. 

In addition, you can respond using the Agreement Frame communication tool. For example, you might say “I appreciate that you shared this with me, and that’s tough...," or "I respect your perspective, and I see this differently because...," or "I agree that this is a difficult situation, and I wonder what I can do to support you." Showing genuine curiosity and compassion can lessen the tension in any moment.

And remember to practice the Quick Coherence® Technique, developed by the Institute of HeartMath, every day to build your resilience capacity and set yourself up for success and JOY this holiday season.

Listen to Episode 70 of The MINDset Game® Podcast to learn the science of gratitude, as well as an effective gratitude practice that can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your health. 


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