Coping with family stress comes with the season. Sure, family stress happens all year. Still, during the holiday season, it amps up, becoming stronger and more widespread amongst families. Family stress is defined as a disturbance in the steady-state of the family system. The disturbance can emerge from the outside, from inside the family, or both simultaneously.
Why does this happen? Why during a time of the year when we try to be cheerful and happy are families more stressed?
I feel that the answer to that question is two-fold. The holiday season itself can cause stress. Families need to make preparations for travel, the arrival of other family members, meal prep, getting gifts, decorating, and meeting the expectations of traditions. There’s a lot of responsibility placed on many people during a short couple of months. But we all know…Write comment (0 Comments)
To find hope and to keep hope are essential to living a happy and peaceful life. Yet most of us know what it’s like to live a life devoid of hope. A life where nothing seems to be going our way, and no one seems to understand. The encouraging “you’ll snap out of it,” or “sleep it off,” or, my favorite, “just get over it,” is not at all helpful. If only it were that easy to overcome the feeling of hopelessness.
Hope is a mechanism developed by the human brain to cope with contexts and situations unfavorable to survival. Without a sense of hope in the future, or hope in one’s ability, where would we find our motivation, our drive, to move forward? In the worst of times, it’s hoping that drives me forward. That “knowledge” telling me there is something better in the future if only I get there.…Write comment (0 Comments)
If I were to ask for a show of hands, how many of you would raise your hand in agreement that generally speaking, I’m worried about my future? I’m assuming most of your hands are raised in agreement. Why is this so? Why does the prospect of "the future worries me" resonate? The answer is fairly simple and consists of one word: unknown.
None of us knows the future. Therefore, by its nature, the future is an unknown. Since it’s an unknown it tends to be scary, because I can’t prepare myself for it. Therefore, the future worries me. As humans, most of us desire to be in control of our daily lives, although, no matter how much we strive for control, much of life is beyond our control. The future is one of those areas outside of our control.
When we feel that we can’t control an aspect of our lives, then we…Write comment (0 Comments)
So, for our purposes, I describe happiness as “our level of satisfaction with what we have at the moment”. Now, when we say, “with what we have,” that could be our material goods, job, career, relationships, or anything else. So, taken in the context of my definition of happiness, are you happy?
This may sound strange, but I promote that happiness is not a goal to strive toward. Why would I stay away from a goal of happiness? Well, the reason that I say this is that we tend to look at happiness as “Am I satisfied with what I have right now?”
The problem with that question is that the answer changes over time. I might, as a child, be satisfied in life playing with a cardboard box. But, all that changes when I become a teenager and young adult, as that box may no longer make me happy. As I advance through adulthood, the whole notion of happiness changes again.Write comment (0 Comments)
This time of the year is when I reflect upon my own childhood memories; memories filled with awe and wonder as the world seemed to be magical. Unfortunately, this time of the year is also one of increased holiday stress due to all the activities we feel we need to do. Our wish to make this time of the year "perfect" increases our expectations, many of them unreasonable, causing us to overwork in our planning efforts.
As a child, I fondly recall watching the animated Christmas specials and reading all the Christmas books I could find. Those stories not only have positive endings, but most of them also depict perfection. In these stories families gather and get along with each other, the house is majestically decorated, the dining room table set to rival the fanciest restaurant. My…