Origin of the word
The word frantic comes from the 14th century Middle English word ‘frentik’ meaning ‘insane’. Its current meaning, ‘affected by wild excitement’, is from the late 15th century. Adverbial forms of the word frantic developed later, including ‘franticly’ in the 1540s and ‘frantically’ from 1749.
Frantic is an adjective that describes a feeling of great urgency. It can be used in reference to a person (“The frantic mother searched all night for her missing child”) or a situation (“In the aftermath of the fire, residents of the building made frantic calls to loved ones”).
Many people experience a frantic sense of urgency around the holidays. This increased stress can make what should be a joyous season turn into a time associated with exhaustion and depression. To combat this overwhelming feeling, experts agree that practising mindfulness can help significantly.
Generally speaking, mindfulness involves stillness, controlled breathing and non-judgemental compassion for the self. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help prevent depression, ease anxiety, relieve stress and reduce irritability. It can also help improve memory and reaction time, while boosting creativity.
In frantic times, it’s relatively easy to develop a mindfulness practice, even if you’ve never done it before. The following is a beginner’s guide to finding calm amidst the chaos of the frantic holiday season:
• Go for a walk
• Sit quietly for three minutes and just breathe
• Do something you enjoy
• Create a “mindfulness bell” — an ordinary activity that becomes a reminder to slow down and pay attention to the moment
• Practice the “10-finger” gratitude exercise — simply count out ten things you are thankful for
• Do an activity you enjoyed from a time in your life that seemed less frantic
You can find many other mindfulness and meditation guides online that can help you de-stress this holiday season. When you take some of the frantic hustle and bustle out of daily life, you may find the joy you’ve been missing.
(Psychology Today. 16 December 2011: ‘Christmas Stress Relief: A Mindful Ten Day Guide.’)
1. done in a very urgent way
2. so worried or upset that you are not able to control your feelings
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.