Summary: I recently read two side-by-side newspaper articles about handling holiday stress that seemed to contradict each other: One said to accept your feelings for what they are, and the other said to give thanks all year round in order to attain happiness. Can these messages be meshed into one?
Recently, I started a subscription to my local paper. (Yes, I know: Newspapers are going by the way of the dinosaurs, but I just can't stop myself from putting up a bit of a fight on their behalf. ... Plus, the subscription costs are at an all-time low.) Over the weekend, during a brief break between family get-togethers, I sat down to a cup of coffee and the giant Sunday edition, and found myself drawn to two different articles about holiday stress.
One was titled, "Facing Feelings Leads to Healing," and was written by a columnist who's also a practicing therapist. Just beneath that was an AP article about the benefits of thanksgiving all year round.
If you put these two articles' messages together, the outcome is this: Humans are programmed to have emotional reactions to external (and internal) stress; a positive overall outlook is helpful—especially when tempered with a realistic acceptance of the stressful situation at hand.
One expert is quoted as saying, "You can't be depressed and grateful at the same time," which is actually one of my favorite little reminders in life's overwhelming moments. (Another is the phrase, "This, too, shall pass.") But the therapist-columnist writes that, before we make lemonade out of the lemons life gives us, we should "embrace the lemon" first.
I call that speaking your truth!
Peace be with you this holiday season as you balance your inner feelings with your outer world, always striving to accept yourself for who you are and your life for what it is, and ever remembering to be thankful for your own reality every day.
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009