You may agree that the preferred response to daily life events is to be mindfully aware of our interactions with ourselves and others and to use compassionate communication strategies along the way. However, with the holiday season now in full force, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and overbooked. You might find that any mindful neuro-leadership habits that you have in your toolbox are temporarily put on hold!
For most of us, it’s hard to escape the pressures that surround us during the holiday season. We are pulled in so many directions. From finding the perfect gift to taking the time to rekindle the “once a year” relationship with distant relatives or completing work before offices close for the holidays, the to-do lists seem to keep on growing, and time seems to slip by at an alarming pace.
The number of social opportunities to connect and build friendships that are on the calendar during this time of year may appear to be growing also. Whether it is a holiday party at work, a family gathering, a friend’s gift exchange party, or just going out to do last minute shopping amongst crowds, social interaction is magnified, anxiety levels can increase, and our mindful stress reduction habits are all but forgotten.
So how can you improve your social AWARENESS while lowering the impact of negative stressors?
First, let’s define “awareness” in “social awareness.” Awareness is the knowledge and understanding that something is occurring. This awareness can be perceived both from an inward and outward vantage point. Inward “self-awareness” includes your emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations, while outward awareness includes your awareness for others, your interactions, and your environment.
Social awareness is categorized as outward awareness. To be socially aware is to be mindful of your words and how what you say will be received by others. It also means being mindful of your outward actions and intentions. It is having the knowledge and understanding that something is occurring in your interactions with others. To have mindful social awareness, it is essential to pay attention to your internal self (self-awareness) as well. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you may have a barrage of thoughts amidst the chaos of this season. When you practice small acts of self-compassion, you will naturally become calmer or at least understand the root of your stress so that you can take further steps to diminish any anxiety and worry that you may have.
Mindful Social Awareness
In this post, I will be sharing three Cognitive Performance coaching tips to help keep you aware of yourself during each and every social situation you have on your calendar this season. With some intentional social awareness, a plan, and practicing how to adapt positively to negative stressors, you will be on your way to enjoy the holiday season with ease and confidence.
Cognitive Performance Tip #1: Be More Engaged.
This may sound obvious, but try to relax and enjoy the presence of others. Often times we can find ourselves not necessarily looking forward to an event due to hectic schedules, or when we do arrive, we are preoccupied with our thoughts.
Before you attend a stressful event, take 3-5 deep cleansing breaths. As you do this, think about one or two people in your life that you care deeply about. Savor any deep feelings of love or admiration that arise. Now, in your minds-eye, select who you are going to try and make an extra effort to connect with at the event. Visualize how you will be intentional in your conversation. See how you interact with them. Envision that while in a conversation, you are asking them questions as well and not focusing solely on yourself. See them respond with warm, engaging gestures and comments. When it is time to attend the event, recall this experience and engage with others in confidence.
Cognitive Performance Tip #2: Monitor Your Alcohol Intake.
It is a known fact that alcohol impairs brain functioning and changes how we interact with others. Have you ever been at a holiday work party and experienced someone drinking just a little too much? It is in your best interest to avoid emulating that person. If you choose to drink, space them out and have a glass of water in between.
If you are worried you may over-drink, ask a friend or date to please remind you if they see you partaking in too many. Many social situations will have other options such as water, soft drinks, or tea. Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water, and be sure that if you are drinking alcohol, you are also keeping your stomach lined with food to absorb it. The best way to be entirely in control and aware of your actions and words is, of course, to not drink. However, one or two glasses of wine or champagne, or 1-2 oz liquor, is the generally prescribed moderate amount for those who choose to have festive alcoholic beverages. Download my eBook, Become Extraordinary, to learn the best practices when it comes to this subject and to learn how to live an enriched life.
Cognitive Performance Tip #3: Practice Gratitude.
When a social situation feels frustrating or is overwhelming, try to bring yourself back to a place of gratitude. It might seem hard in the moment, but being aware of what you are thinking is integral to keeping yourself positive and composed. If someone says something that rubs you the wrong way, take a deep breath and in your mind express gratitude for the challenge they are teaching you (although, don’t say this out loud!). If you find someone sitting alone, express gratitude by being kind to them and engaging in conversation. Practice gratitude to yourself by taking care of yourself amidst your busy schedule. Thank yourself for all you are doing.
You can also practice gratitude by thanking each host in a small way. Bringing flowers or a nice bottle of wine is the perfect way to extend appreciation to another. Not only will you be a good guest, but you will be aware of your presence in another person’s home or social event.
If you want to learn more about gratitude and practicing it in your daily life, I invite you to download my latest FREE eBook now! Just subscribe to my mailing list to get access to not only this eBook but three others as well. You can join HERE.
I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season full of gratitude, positive connections, and awareness of each moment.