Hidden needs & Stress-free holidays

13 December 2013, by
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For many of us the holidays, which are fast approaching, are a stressful time. For those of us living in the Netherlands (or another foreign country), this stress can have many facets.

Here is a tip that can help you celebrate the coming weeks in full holiday cheer: behind any one of your energy draining stressors lies one or more needs that aren’t being met.

If you can identify the need or needs not being met, you can do something about it. If you choose to...

What are your needs?

The list of your needs is long and extends from physical needs (enough food, water, air to breathe, exercise, etc.) to emotional, mental and spiritual needs. A need for calm, a need to be seen or heard, a need for connection, respect, humour, compassion...

The needs which are important to us develop over time. Your experiences, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, fears and values have all contributed to how you react when a need isn’t being met. Not all family get-togethers are occasions of joy, peace and harmony. Holiday music can be very misleading.

It’s an interesting concept - that just identifying an unmet need can help you turn around the energy drain that occurs in its absence. It takes the significance out of the situation to know what is behind your reaction.

Of course, every personal development change in life starts with awareness, so why should this be any different?

How to identify what you really need

Develop an awareness first to what needs are important to you. You’ll find a list here to help you do this.

Choose the 10 top needs for yourself from this list (don’t choose food, water etc. if they are plentiful in your life). Then from these top 10, whittle it down to a top 5. Then from this top 5, choose the one need that is MOST important to you.

You now have a workable list!

stress holidays needs
Photo by Flickr user Bill Young

Transform the stress

Take the items on the top 10 list and make a copy of it. Carry it with you. Over the coming weeks, whenever you feel an energy-draining emotion, take this list out. As soon as you’re aware of your energy draining away, ask yourself what need isn’t being met.

Look first to the most important need in your life. Is this the reason for your im/explosion? If not, look further down on your list. In all likelihood, the "why" behind your reaction will be on this list because it’s absent in your life.

It may help you to ask "What do I need now?" to help stimulate your inner wisdom in the situation.

Once you know what you need, ask for it. If it’s something that someone else can give you, don’t demand it and don’t expect the other person to know why you feel the way you do.

Ask for the need to be met in a non-judgmental, non-accusing manner. "What I need right now is ___________."

A stress-free Christmas

Start practising now. By late December you should have a wonderful resource at your fingertips to help you enjoy all the hustle and bustle.

Happy holidays!


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Mary Jane Roy

Mary Jane facilitates individuals and companies in learning simple, effective techniques to reduce, ...

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