Shrink Rap

Shrink Rap

Dr. Susannah Smith continues with her new TIO column, “Shrink Rap.” Her second post is a tip of the hat to Alfred E. Newman: “What, me worry?” It is all last-minute holiday stress.

Shrink Rap
by Dr. Susannah Smith

Even the most organized person usually forgets something on his or her list of tasks for the holiday season. Especially if you are an achiever or perfectionist, the stress of “doing everything right” can become severe during right about now. Throw into the pot: kids out of school, Secret Santa presents, missed planes, blizzard conditions, last minute gifts you forgot to get,  and stir into your regular busy life. It is a recipe for disaster guaranteed to make your blood pressure rise.

Whenever we add to our already busy schedules, we tip the scale.  We will be talking about stress in future posts, because our society was already under massive stress even prior to the changing economy – and without additional little straws to push things over the top such as the holidays.

Our attitude and belief systems determine, to a large degree, whether or not we will be anxious or depressed, joyful or hopeless. Perfectionist tendencies are different from striving for excellence.  Perfectionists believe that there is a “right” way to do things.  They put pressure not only on themselves, but on others as well. Most likely, perfectionists learn these beliefs in their families of origin: mom and dad, uncles, churches, teachers, and cultures.

When we worry too much, we tend to try to plan and control everything. In doing so, we block out the magic. Magic is what happens when we are having fun and being in the moment. It’s what Jung called “synchronicity”: there’s no such thing as coincidence. Magic happens when you are open and receptive and can see an opportunity placed in front of you. Your energy attracts more positive energy.

So, try some magic this season. Trust that things will work out. Believe that everything is just right. If you are stuck in a long line or some other delay, try meditating, praying, making up a song, learning sign language or the Morse code  – you never know when that might come in handy – talking to your neighbor, writing an article for a local news blog. If you just cannot get those extra gifts or food items, trust that we will all love you anyway. If you think you don’t look exactly right, trust that you are just fine as you are. As my mother’s father always said: “Honey, if they don’t know you, well, they won’t care. And, if they do know you, well, they won’t care.”

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