Depth Psychotherapy, Stress Reduction & the Holidays
Stress reduction during the Holidays: can a /a-midlife-transition perspective help with keeping the season genuine and human?
I hear from many people in many ways at this time of year how hard it can be to stay true to oneself. People find it hard to stay with how they really feel; to keep to what they want for themselves, instead of being driven by others’ expectations; and, to stay with their own genuine spirituality.
Approaching the season in the spirit of /a-midlife-transition, here are 4 potentially important elements.
Honest Connection, Not “Going Through the Motions”
Relationships with others in the holiday season can be routine, rather than genuinely connected. Sometimes I would really rather not see a particular person at all; experiences of betrayal or violation by family members, for instance, can generate such feelings. Or, it may be painful to pretend to be as others rigidly expect me to be.
These holidays, could my stress reduction involve making my connections with others reflect how I really feel in my depths?
Authenticity, Not Conventionality
Similarly, my holiday activities might be motivated by what I’m expected to do, rather than what I really want. How free can I be this year to do what genuinely matters to me?
More Living, Not More Stuff
We all know the ever-growing marketing pressure to buy more at this season. Underlying this compulsive push is a powerful fantasy: the idea that owning the right things will lead to an imaginary good life of fulfillment. But maybe the key to our fulfillment has much more to do with what we experience. How could I alter my holiday season to experience more, in order to feel more alive?
Depth of Feeling, Not Sentimentality
The holiday season is often full of hackneyed sentimentality, both sacred and secular. I can feel a lot of pressure to feel what I’m “supposed” to feel, rather than what I actually do feel. This doesn’t mean that I have to be cynical; in our era that can be a canned sentiment, too. What do I genuinely feel and think as I reflect about myself, the season, those close to me, and my journey?
My very best wishes for the Holiday season,
PHOTO: © Wessel Du Plooy | Dreamstime.com
MUSIC: “I Belive in Father Christmas”, Greg Lake © 1975 Atlantic Records All Rights Reserved.
© 2011 Brian Collinson
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