The Holidays Aren't Stressful
Just Because You're Screwed Up, Don't Blame Christmas
As we start to move into the holiday season we will start hearing about how stressful the holidays are. This all comes from our distorted belief that "stress" is somehow "out there" in the world and not a result of our thinking processes. Stress is a word that supposedly reflects a physiological state whereby certain hormones are kicked into the system affecting certain organs. Nowadays stress is this nebulous force out there in the world. We are "under stress" and "coping with stress" and dealing with "stressful jobs" and "stressful holidays."
Stress isn't out there. All that is out there are situations. They might be situations we like or don't like, but whether we have stress happening in us depends on how we think about those situations.
Now I know you've heard this before. There are a lot of writers and speakers who sort of talk this talk - that we must be responsible for our lives etc. But when push comes to shove they still talk the talk of victims. "How did that make you feel?" is a favorite question of parents and counselors. It sounds like you're really encouraging the person to talk about his or her feelings. The only problem is that it implies that an event totally controlled your reaction and you are in essence a victim. Wrong.
"He drives me nuts." Same idea. Victim thinking.
I have worked with people in all types of tragic circumstances including people having their children murdered. Some people stay angry and hateful and bitter and they obviously can make a good case for that. Others however choose not to go in that direction. One person told me and a group I was talking to that it finally dawned on him after waking up every day for ten years and hating the person who killed his daughter that she deserved better than that from him. He said that she hadn't lived all those years just for him to hate someone.
Personal Power is about choices. If you don't see the choices you don't see the power.
If you are going crazy around the holidays, the odds are you are trying to meet some type of expectations either from others or from yourself. Don't get me wrong. If you start defying those expectations you will get some flack. Count on it. However if you don't make changes you will be a reflection of B.B. King's song, "The Thrill Is Gone."
I guarantee you though, that if you keep blaming the holidays or seeing the holidays as stressful you will be stuck until you die. However if you start to accept some responsibility for your inner life, you will begin to see that the way you think is triggering most of your stress response.
This is hard to change. People like to say, "Easier said than done." Well, duh! It is easier said than done. But difficult is not impossible. It's just difficult.
If you are tired of your holidays being a mess, make different choices. The first time you do this your holiday still might not be great, but you will start to feel a certain sense of power coming back. Take back your holidays. Take back your life.
About The Author
Scott Sheperd Ph.D
Ph.D Counseling/Psychology - 6 Books Published including "Who's In Charge? Attacking the Stress Myth" Newest booklet called "Powerful People Create Powerful Organizations" a prime for leaders. www.mystresscoach.com Spoken to over 100,000 people from Alaska to Florida
View their website at: http://www.mystresscoach.com