Changing Perspective On The Holiday Season

Changing perspective on the holiday season is so crucial for us in finding happiness and peace. The stress and busyness of the holiday season have me reflecting on the topic of keeping perspective on the holidays. If I change how I think about, or view, the holidays, then how I view and cope with the stress of the holidays will change.

(This article is based on a transcript from my podcast episode posted December 21, 2019)

When I talk about the holiday season, I'm not talking in any particular religious meaning. Regardless of your belief or how you celebrate this time of the year, the fact remains this a very hectic time. In changing my perspective on the holiday season, namely, my expectations will change how I view the season, and so reduce my stress. 

Expectations

Many of us have expectations of what this time of the year should be. Families and our traditions place these expectations upon us. So when we're looking at these expectations it puts a high level of achievement, a high level of making sure that what we do equals previous years' celebrations.

Expectations on celebrating and honoring one's traditions is a worthy goal to have…

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coping with family stress

Coping with family stress during the holidays can seem like a given. Many of us anticipate that family will get on our nerves, make us upset, or get us angry. Understanding that stress, especially during the holidays, will happen, then coping with family stress becomes more manageable and doable since we expect to feel and experience that family stress. 

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…

Read more: Coping With Family Stress To Bring Peace To The Holidays

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find hope

How to find hope in life is not always an easy task. Yet, a life without a sense of hope can be dark, depressed, anxious, and lacking in motivation. In this article, I write about ways of finding hope in life, and so finding happiness and inner peace. 

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.…

Read more: How To Find Hope In Life

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worried about future

We fixate our thoughts on the future and so complain that the future worries me. If we stay focused on the future than yes, I’d be worried about my future, too. But there is a solution which I offer in my four tips for coping with the future.

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…

Read more: The Future Worries Me - As It Should: how to be happy

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inner peace happiness

Are you happy? The reason I ask is that many people tend to judge their life goals or where they are in life based on their level of happiness.

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.

Bonus: Download Chris Shea's booklet on Life Coaching…

Read more: Happiness Is Not The Answer But Here's What Is

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