Christmas and the Goldilocks Story

Christmas , indeed any holiday, can be like the Goldilocks Story

too little –
Just Right.

I have had all those!

The, it’s TOO MUCH, overwhelming ones.
The, it’s too little, lonely ones.
The, it’s Just Right, ones  where it all seemed to easily fall into place and there was the right amount of – people and things to do – that it was all just a pleasure.

GoldilocksNaturally I prefer the just right ones! Granted, there are times in our lives that are just overwhelming.

I have a two part definition of overwhelm – external and internal. The external overwhelm is when our existing strategies for dealing with an event is not effective or we are so overwhelmed/traumatized that we’ve forgotten the strategies we have. That’s when we need help and support to get back in touch with our own strategies and existing resources and/or have assistance in putting new strategies in place.

Internal overwhelm occurs when our existing expectations of self, others and the world are not met. Internal overwhelm is the overwhelm we do to ourselves. Perhaps, for example, that where you live should be decorated to the max, all the past family rituals should be carried out exactly, even if you no longer have the space, or can afford it or never really liked it in the first place. And, you should cook/serve/eat food in types and amounts that you certainly don’t throughout the year.

Internal overwhelm has to do with your beliefs and expectations that you should have certain people, things, activities. In addition, you and others should behave in certain ways. Shoulds are like a lock around you and you don’t realize there is a key. You may not even realize it is a should instead of a choice. Internal overwhelm happens when a should has become your internal truth, you see it as reality, You don’t recognize it as a should. You probably interpret the overwhelm as externally caused.

Either way, right now stop – just for a couple of minutes. Try the following exercise. Take a slow, very deep breath. Close your eyes. Identify where in your body you feel the upset. Behind your eyes? In your chest? Your throat? Back? Neck? Or perhaps just an over all exhausted feeling? Pay attention to what it feels like, how big it is, how strong the sensation? One good way to assess the strength is to give it a number on a 0 to 10 scale with 10 being you are almost in total panic, or shutdown.

Let’s try this. Focus your attention on the internal sensations and rub between your eyebrows as you take a slow deep breath. Keep focusing on the sensation as you rub in small circles just under your eyes with both hands and take a slow deep breath. Keep focusing on the sensation. Now cross both arms like you are giving yourself a hug and rub about 4 inches under your armpit, again as you take a slow deep breath. Now take one hand and place it in the middle of your chest with your thumb and index finger under the “collarbone. Focus on the sensation. Hold your hand in place and rub with all your fingers as you are taking a slow deep breath.

Now go back to where in your body you first identified the upset feeling. Again, focus on the sensation and take a slow deep breath. Does it feel the same? Is it in the same place? Is it the same size? Is it the strength the same?

Try this throughout the holidays whenever overwhelm rears its head.

Read more about using this approach for any upset at

I wish you a Just Right Holiday season.  Oh, and if you don’t remember or know the story of Goldilocks. Check out this cute animation of the Goldilocks Story.

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Ann Adams