The holidays can be loaded guns for our emotions and wellbeing. In this Q&A, Dr. Dain Heer offers strategies to shift into a more positive experience
A Q&A with Best Self Co-Founder Bill Miles and Dr. Dain Heer. Raised in the ghettos of Los Angeles, Dr. Heer is an international author, speaker and business consultant on themes of higher consciousness, self-empowerment and personal creation, with a community of over 1 million followers. Learn more at drdainheer.com.
Bill Miles: Hi Dain, thank you for talking with us. To start, can you please tell us a little about your own personal connection to the emotional struggles that people experience around the holidays? Perhaps what you experienced or witnessed that led you to explore this more deeply in your work?
Dain Heer: Most of us have the idea that the holidays are ‘supposed’ to be happy. We have expectations of harmonious family gatherings, extravagant presents and peace and joy for all. But for many people, these expectations are far from reality. What I have found is that if you start shifting your own perspectives and your own expectations, you can find your happy regardless of the world around you. I have found some really simple and pragmatic tools that create dynamic change. If you use them, you’ll be able to have that sense of joy that the holidays are supposed to be all about.
BM: What is the biggest myth (or myths) surrounding the holidays that can then trigger destructive issues such stress, depression and/or isolation?
DH: MYTH: It’s All You: The majority of the stuff that goes on in your head…
All of the thoughts, the feelings, the insecurities, the unhappiness — are not actually yours.
What we’ve found is that 98% of your thoughts feelings and emotions don’t belong to you. For example, when you think you’re not doing or being enough, or the sense that you’re wrong, the majority of that isn’t yours. What happens is, when you’re around a lot of people, especially people you’re close to, you pick it up dynamically. Take notice when you start losing that sense of self, that sense of you and use the tools below to find you again.
BM: Can you offer suggestions or strategies to help people avoid falling prey to these triggers?
1. Don’t buy into other people’s drama
How much do you allow other people’s lives to get intertwined in yours? 98% of your thoughts, feelings and emotions are not your own; you are picking them up from the people around you. Ask yourself “Who does this belong to?” to help you determine the thoughts and feelings that are actually yours.
2. It’s ok to be different
There is a lot of pressure at holiday time to get along with family members and other individuals, but instead of conforming to appease people, it is better to acknowledge and celebrate what is different about you. What if your difference is the greatness of you? The thing that can make valuable change in the world? Embrace your difference and ask yourself, “What is different about me that is wonderful about me?” Celebrate that.
3. Make a list of everything you are thankful for in the year
Why wait until New Years? Gratitude is one of the greatest creators of happiness there is and when you focus on what you are grateful for, more of what you are grateful for has a way of showing up.
4. Don’t try to fix things for unhappy people
Spending time with family can be stressful. Let others be unhappy if they choose. Happiness is a choice, so you do not need to take responsibility for others’ unhappiness. If others are unhappy, it’s not your job to change it – in fact you can’t. However, you can make it your job to be happy yourself, which shows them that there are other choices available, if and when they want a different choice.
5. Ask questions of possibility
A huge part of Access Consciousness® is about ‘living as the question’. Choice and question are the few things that will change everything. When you ask questions, you open the door for something new to show up. Questions like, “What else is possible?” Or “How does it get any better than this?” Or, “I wonder what it would take for this holiday season to turn out better than I could imagine?”
BM: What does ‘self-care’ mean to you, and how can you apply it to protect yourself a bit during the holidays?
DH: Do one thing a day that nurtures you. Even if it’s just drinking coffee, just take the time to have a moment for you. You will find that you have more energy, more space for you and more gratitude for you and the people and things in your life.
BM: When the holidays are over, what now? How can people recover — and learn — from negative emotional energy they may have experienced?
DH: Surround yourself with happy people. Make a list of 3 happy people you enjoy talking to and call them up when you need a boost. Seek out happy friends and don’t hang out with unhappy ones. If you have mostly surrounded yourself with unhappy people during the holidays — get proactive. Try out new things and meet new people. Find you again.
BM: Any last words of empowerment for our readers that might serve them well beyond the holidays?
Do you have somebody in your life that doesn’t judge you at all? Even one person? If you have one person that doesn’t judge you, do you notice how healing and nurturing it is to be around them? How after just 10 minutes in their company your whole being, and body relaxes?
What if you were that person? For you? Especially this time of year.
You may also enjoy reading Under Pressure: How alignment with our core values helps us navigate stress differently by Dr. Samantha Brody