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As Christmas is fast approaching, most of us are getting ready for the big day. However, for a lot of people Christmas can be a very stressful time. While some people love everything about Christmas, including all the planning, cooking and entertaining, for others the very idea of Christmas can be completely overwhelming and very stressful. If the latter sounds more like you, then read on… 

It’s easy to become fixated on the idea of having the perfect Christmas, especially after the last two years we have had. You may be telling yourself that you must cook the most incredible meal, the house must be spotless, you must buy the most expensive or thoughtful gifts, your family must have the best Christmas ever and everyone must enjoy themselves. Telling yourself that you must or should do something is a what Albert Ellis, one of the early founders of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), refers to as rigid demands. Having rigid and unrealistic demands for ourselves, other people and the world around us can lead us to feel very frustrated, stressed and unhappy if these expectations aren’t met.

If you find that you regularly use the words must and should when it comes to yourself, what you expect from others and what you expect from the world around you, then first of all simply recognising this habit is helpful in reducing the negative impact of these words. A very easy trick from CBT is to change the way you say things, by changing these demands into preferences. For example, saying “I want to cook a nice meal for Christmas” or “I would like the house to be clean”. By doing this you are creating space to recognise what you would like while also recognising that it is not absolutely necessary. It’s important to keep in mind that while it may be nice to reach your goals and have that perfect Christmas, we are human and we live in an imperfect world. This Christmas try to remove these words from your vocabulary and notice how this can very effectively reduce your stress levels, allowing you to have a much happier and more relaxed Christmas.  

If you are interested in finding out more about cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and how it can help you reduce stress, contact me to book a free no-obligation consultation call. If you found this article helpful and would like to see more, follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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