Did you know there is a HUMBUG DAY?
That’s right, it’s an official “holiday” coming up on December 21st.
And, strange as it may be, it actually makes sense.
Humbug Day “encourages a controlled venting of all that stress before Christmas so that you can enjoy the festive season to the fullest.”
I wonder what the holidays would be like if everyone took advantage of Humbug Day to get all of their holiday stress out before the holidays instead of holding it all in so that it seethes under the surface or comes out in ways they would rather it didn’t?
My guess is the holidays would be a lot more enjoyable.
Now the only problem with Humbug Day is that people don’t know to “vent” in a way that will be effective and positive.
You see, most of us were not taught how to effectively vent and let off steam. So we learned to hold it inside until it built up to the point where we just couldn’t hold it anymore. And then… well, let’s just say you probably don’t want to be around someone who’s reached their “maximum capacity” for holding it in. (If you have been – or if you’ve been the one reaching your maximum capacity – you know what I mean!)
The other coping mechanism is the “letting it out in little dribs and drabs” method. It’s those little nit-picky jabs that come out on a regular basis. In it’s most insidious form it’s a passive aggressive approach to life. Not fun to be around that either!
Just imagine how much more enjoyable life would be if our early education (think pre-school) included lessons in the effective expression of emotions!
Someday I’ll share some of the ways I’ve (hopefully) helped my daughter be more fluid and effective at that.
But for now, here are some ideas and techniques you can use to effectively “vent” some of your emotional on Humbug Day (or any other time!)
1. Set Clear Intentions:
Why are you venting? What do you want to accomplish? What do you hope to release? How do you want to feel at the end?
A clear intention for your venting session primes your subconscious mind to support that intention.
This is important because it helps to override your conditioned patterns so that you break out of the habit of “venting” just for the sake of venting – and without any real relief.
It is important that you know you are venting with a clear purpose and outcome in mind.
2. Give Yourself Permission:
This can be part of your intention but it’s so important it’s worth mentioning on its own.
So much of the stuck “stuff” inside of us is there because we didn’t believe we had permission to let it out.
The very act of giving yourself permission to let that old stuff out begins the process.
3. Heal Yourself… Don’t Hurt Another:
This is another piece that can go into your intention setting. But, again, so important that it needs to be included as a separate item.
Too much of our emotional expression – the nit-pickyness and passive-aggression, the explosions and rants, the blame and resentment – has a motivation of hurting someone else. The focus – often, though not always, unconscious – is to get back at someone who hurt us.
Whenever emotional expression is fueled by that energy it actually amplifies the negative impact on YOU.
It’s been said that holding onto resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. The same is true of expressing emotions with the intention to hurt someone else.
For emotional release to bring relief focus on healing yourself.
In the beginning, don’t pay any attention to anyone else. Just focus on your own healing.
When you do, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and effectively your emotional release leads to relief.
4. Create a Sacred Space:
Through my intensive experience with Indigenous rituals I’ve seen and felt the power of creating a Sacred Container for expressing your emotions.
When you take the time to create Sacred Space you are showing your dedication and devotion to the process of releasing that which is holding you back.
Creating Sacred Space can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths or as complicated as calling in the Directions or Ancestors, Angels or Guides.
In most cases, if you’re just looking for a quickie … emotional release that is – a few deep breaths to gather your energy and ground yourself can be just right.
5. Trust What Comes Up:
One thing I’ve learned when it comes to letting emotions out is that you never know what’s going to come up.
I’ve participated in “Grief Rituals” where all that came out of me was old anger. And I’ve asked for a ritual to release anger where I ended up crying and letting out rivers of grief.
When it comes to releasing emotions you just don’t know what you’re going to find. Trust that whatever comes up to be released is exactly what is meant to be released.
When you create a Sacred Space you open to the presence and guidance of your Higher Self. That part of you knows what is ready to be released and will guide you… if you let it.
6. Ask For A Witness:
The act of releasing emotions in a Sacred Space is powerful.
Even more powerful is doing so in the presence of a Witness.
If you’re like I was the thought of expressing emotions in front of someone else probably scares the bejeesus out of you.
I still clearly remember the night, over 15-years ago, when I participated in my first group ritual. The paralysis and numbness I felt was nearly overwhelming as I tried to break through the beliefs that had held me back from any kind of emotional expression for most of my life… let alone emotional expression in a group!
But I can also assure you that being witnessed as you experience and express emotions is profoundly healing!
Consider asking a good friend – someone you deeply trust – to join you for your “venting.” You can even set it up to take turns holding Sacred Space and witnessing while the other releases.
7. Involve Your Body:
When emotions get “stuck” where do they get stuck?
Exactly, in your body.
Your body stores the energy of those stuck emotions. So when you’re releasing those emotions it makes sense that you want to involve your body.
There are many obvious example of emotions coming out through the involvement of your body: The tears that fall when you allow yourself to feel sadness…. The clenched fists, tight jaws and constriction in the solar plexus that accompany anger… The smile and twinkle in the eyes that indicates the presence of Joy.
So get your body involved when you’re letting those emotions go.
Move it, shake it, dance it, jump it, jiggle it. Shout and scream. Shimmy and shuffle. Your body will let you know how it wants to move. Listen to it. Trust it. Follow its guidance
When you do you’ll see just how quickly you can clear a lot of old gunk!
8. Get Professional Support When Needed:
I’m a big proponent of self-healing. There is a LOT you can do to release emotions on your own. But emotions are a powerful force – VERY powerful. It’s important to start slow and gently.
Sometimes you just need a little professional help.
If you feel really stuck… Or if you get the “hit” that something really big is ready to open and release… Or if you find yourself going around and around in circles always coming back to the same thing… Or if you just don’t know where to begin… it’s time to get support.
Find someone who can support and guide you through the process. I wish there were more people qualified to lead rituals for individuals and groups. If you can find someone nearby to do that for you… awesome.
If not, consider finding someone who does some form of Emotional Release Therapy, Breathwork or Emotional Bodywork.
I’ve had great results with several forms of Breathwork as well as Somatic Experiencing but there are many other modalities that work well.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to release the holiday stress before it builds up and comes out when you don’t want to… or worse, gets stuck in your body.
It’s easy to get caught in stress of the holiday season. Even if you are cool and calm as a cucumber the people around may not be.
So before the stress gets stuck in you, take time to let it go. And take time to remember what the holiday season means for you – whether it’s joy, compassion, peace, generosity, faith, love, or anything else. When you do you will feel a peacefulness descend upon you and help you move through this stressful time with ease and grace.
Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions on how to effectively release old emotions.
Oh and “Bah Humbug!” 😉
Actually … Happy RELAXING holidays!
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