Leadership Competencies

Manage Stress During the Holidays and Every Day: Focus on the Essence of What You Want

With plays, parties and events to attend, cards to mail, gifts to buy, guests to prepare for, and year-end initiatives at work, you may find yourself tied up in ribbons. Focusing on the essence of what you want is one of the most powerful ways of thinking to reduce stress and bring about peace of mind and happiness during the holiday season and throughout the year.

During stressful times, we may find ourselves consumed with thoughts of worry, self-criticism, frustration, and even anger. We may feel we have too much to do. We may feel we’re doing things we don’t want to do or not doing the things we want to do. We can rise to a new level of consciousness, restore our sense of purpose and reclaim our peace of mind by focusing on the essence of what we want.

Here are some practical tips to help you discover the essence of what you want:

  • Change your “I have to,” “I need to” or “I should” thoughts to thoughts of vision and purpose. As soon as you catch yourself thinking one of these judgmental, obligatory, victimy – and exhausting – thoughts, re-frame your thoughts to discover if this is what you truly want.  Restate your thoughts using the words, “I am,” “I choose,” “I am committed to,” “It’s important to me that.”  Then state the difference this makes. For example, instead of, “I have to go to my child’s play,” try “I am going to my child’s play” or “It’s important to me that I go to my child’s play.” “When I go to my child’s play, I am strengthening my relationship with my child, I am able to show my support, give encouragement and help my child feel loved.” After you have re-framed the thought, see how you feel.If these new thoughts are in alignment with our vision of ourselves, we feel inspired and we receive ideas on what to do next and how to do it. We also get ideas on how we can fulfill our vision in other ways. You may also discover that the activity is not in alignment with who you are and what you wish to create. When we discover something is not what we truly want, we can wonder how we could thoughtfully and gracefully say no.
  • List everything you think you want to accomplish, and ask yourself, “What does this bring me?” for each item. Keep asking and answering the question, “What does this bring me?” until you get to the essence of what you want. When the essence of what we want brings us peace or inspires us, we open ourselves to the myriad of possibilities on how to fulfill what we truly want. If the essence does not bring us peace, then we can cross the item off our list, choose another way to think about it, or create another way to fulfill the essence of what we want.
  • Take a deep breath, focusing on the exhale, and think “I wonder what truly matters in this moment?” When it comes down to it, the essence of every thought is love or fear. If I’m worried about what others might think or the negative consequences of what I do or don’t do, then the essence of what I want is fear. Re-invoking the state of wonder is a sure-fire way to help us choose love, reduce stress, spark creativity, keep us fully present and focused on what really brings us peace and joy.

For more on this, read or listen to my Forward Thinking™ Reminder Holiday Stress Management: How to Reduce Stress and Experience Peace of Mind During the Holidays. For Daily Inspiration, follow Managing Thought on Twitter or like it on Facebook.


Mary J. Lore is a mentor to corporate leaders, multiple award winning author, keynote speaker, and founder of Managing Thought, LLC. Hailed by business leaders around the world, her multiple award-winning book Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success and audio book Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World? not only change the way you think about success—they change the way you think, period. With a groundbreaking approach to harnessing mental power, Mary helps individuals and organizations turn counter-productive thinking into inspired action and significant results. In her career, she has served as a CPA, a crisis management and business turnaround expert, and an entrepreneur. Mary serves as an expert resource for Vistage, served as a Chair from 2002 – 2010, and was a member during the 1990s. Visit Mary at www.managingthought.com and www.maryjlore.com. If you’d like to help Mary teach millions of people how to change their thoughts and their lives, go to www.managingthought.com/PBSPledgeSpecial.

Featured Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chmeredith/3088120425/

Category: Leadership Competencies


Avatar About the Author: Mary Lore

Mary J. Lore, the founder and CEO of Managing Thought LLC, is an internationally recognized thought leader, public speaker, and executive mentor. Her background in business start ups, business turnarounds and entrepreneurship gives Mary the …

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