Make an Appointment: 905-337-3946 |

  • 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?

    Father Christmas” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer expresses these psychological truths:


    My very best wishes for the Holiday season,


    PHOTO: © Wessel Du Plooy |
    MUSIC: “I Belive in Father Christmas”, Greg Lake © 1975  Atlantic Records  All Rights Reserved.
    © 2011 Brian Collinson
    2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga


    1. Kevin Tinsley

      Kevin Tinsley

      December 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm -

      I think it is the mark of a good article when read, it evokes the feeling that it was written with the reader in mind.

      I think this will really resonate with the experience of most people. I certainly can relate with much of this…


      1. Brian C
        December 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm -

        Thank you for your comment, Kevin. I think that, for many of us, and I’d certainly include myself in this, there can be very real, particular challenges to “hanging onto ourselves” through the holiday season. I’m glad if you found the article offering something meaningful for dealing with this.

        Thanks once again, Kevin.

    Leave a reply:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*