Season Greetings Brain Changers

Season Greetings Brain Changers!

With a name like Noel, it’s no surprise I have a weakness for the holidays, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at my first Santa visit

Noel on Santas Lap

Yep, that’s me on Santa’s lap, consumed by catastrophic thinking, avoidance, and inflexibility–anxiety’s hallmark patterns. The other kids enjoyed this moment and wanted to get closer to Santa, while I felt uncomfortable and didn’t see myself ever liking this experience. I wanted out!

At the time, I had no clue I was dealing with anxiety or could do anything to combat it.

Thankfully, that’s no longer the case!

In my commitment to supporting schools, organizations, families, and individuals with anxiety management, I teach kids and adults what anxiety looks, sounds, and feels like in the mind and body. More importantly, I empower them with practical “real-time” tools to help them feel better. By understanding how anxiety works and how to respond to it in more productive ways, you can turn down its volume, reset, and pivot.

You may be aware that a little stress can actually be good. It can enhance performance and growth, just like when doing strength training in the gym. However, if you never stop working or never give your muscles (and mind) an opportunity to rest and repair, it can lead to burnout and chronic stress. The brain has the ability to rewire itself, so why not train it to your advantage!

The ability to reset and pivot is key, especially given the ever-changing stressors of the pandemic, coupled with the excitement and triggers of the holiday season.


This holiday season and throughout the year ahead, give yourself the gift of “rest and repair intervals.” These breaks don’t have to be long or expensive; just do what you find restorative. It can be anything from exercise to mindfulness, watching movies, or playing with your pet.

And don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh because the brain and body love humor. Here’s a corny but fitting joke: What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet? The Christmas alphabet has No “L.” (haha…No-el!)

I hope the tips, strategies, and resources in this newsletter help you stress less and enjoy more. May your holidays and New Year be filled with happiness, joy, and rejuvenation.



Quick Tip

Though the wellness industry may send messages that anxiety is a “quick fix” and can be eradicated by purchasing a certain product, that’s not entirely the case. The good news is you can learn to manage anxiety.

And…not all anxiety is bad.

If anxiety is keeping you safe or helping you prepare, it might feel terrible and actually help.

If you’re anxious for no reason or the anxiety is out of proportion with what’s wrong, then you’re likely dealing with anxiety that’s too much.

Pay attention to the difference.

The ABC Strategy from my book ABC Worry Free is one tool you can use to help manage anxiety whenever and wherever it strikes. The following three steps can help you develop a new relationship and response to anxiety:
abc for stress

ABC Strategy Examples

Example 1:

A=Mistakes make me feel stupid.

B=Do 4/6 belly breathing to reset.

C=Change my thinking (turn a threat into opportunity)

Mistakes help me learn—improvement, not perfection is my goal.

Example 2:

A=Juggling work and home demands is hard.

B=Do 4/6 belly breathing to reset.

C=Change my thinking (turn a threat into opportunity)

It’s OK for me to ask for help and set healthy boundaries.

Want your own copy of the ABC Strategy template? Head here:

ABC Strategy Template

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