CELEBRATIONS AND STRESS

#holidaystress #celebrations #holidays #Christmas
No matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year, make sure you celebrate and have fun.
Often, though, this time of year is one of stress and, as Gregg Steinberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay University in Tennessee calls them, “irrational thoughts.”
Steinberg, who discussed this in a column in the Dec. 21, 2014, edition of the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, says we often feel that the pressure is on us to be perfect. We have to cook the perfect holiday feast or keep that perfect holiday cheer.
Quoting famed psychologist Carl Jung, “Perfection belongs to the gods; the most we can hope for is excellence,” Steinberg writes.
Trying to be perfect during the holidays is impossible, causing us to suffer instead of feel joy, Steinberg writes.
In other words, feel the joy, love and other goodness of the season. Strive to make the celebration as good as it can be, without overthinking things. If you enjoy baking, go ahead, but don’t make it feel like a project. If you hate to bake, don’t. Leave it to those who love it. Or, if you must have baked goods around, attend one of the many holiday bake sales at churches, schools etc. If all else fails, buy what you like at the store and be done with it. Don’t stress about it.
Don’t agonize over that perfect gift for someone. Find what you think someone will like, buy it and give it to the person whenever you open gifts. Unless you love to spend hours shopping and fighting crowds – many people do – if you see something you think someone might like or use, grab it, pay for it at the checkout counter and go. Don’t add irrational stress to the holiday experience.
Here’s the tough part of keeping holidays joyful. At least for a while, forget about your troubles. Yes, that’s certainly easier said than done, especially if you have just lost a loved one and have had some financial hardships. In the latter case, just do what you can and don’t feel compelled to overspend. Those who love you would rather see you joyful than stressful. It doesn’t matter to them what you can or can’t afford.
How do you forget about your troubles if you are overwhelmed by them? Think about what is good in your life, and be grateful for those things. Focus on those things during this season. It will enhance your joy and reduce your stress.
Steinberg goes on to talk about irrational beliefs vs. realistic ones. He suggests making a list of all your beliefs that put pressure on you, and ask whether the beliefs are grounded in reality. In many cases, what you believe is true, or believe you must do, is based on opinion rather than fact. If such beliefs are hurting your performance, or causing you unhappiness, it’s time to find more rational beliefs, Steinberg writes.
Perhaps it may be time to check out something that could change your life. There are many things you may, or may not, be aware of that could turn you into a joyful person. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You could find that fun way to relieve much of what stresses you.
Most importantly, have a joyful holiday season, and a prosperous new year. Examine your life and find out what is really important, and what is not. This should be a time of joy, not stress. It should be a time of celebration. Time with family, friends and life itself is certainly worth celebrating. Things don’t have to be perfect to be fun.
Enjoy. Celebrate. Live!
Peter

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