What Causes Holiday Stress?

Holiday Stress

The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration when friends and families gather to share food, fun, gifts, and love. They are supposed to be a time of giving, caring and connection whenever we celebrate essential and meaningful events. 

Happy-HolidayWhy, then, are they often so stressful and so what can we do to create them more fun and peaceful?
Changing the vacation season from stressful to peaceful depends upon one thing: INTENT. Your intent is whatever is most significant to you in any particular moment or situation.
At any given moment, we are always in one of two intents. Devote simple terms, it really is either more vital that you had in any given moment to: 
  1. Be loving to yourself and others, or 
  2. Get love and approval 
Your intent determines your behavior as well as your feelings. Let’s take a good example.
Jenny is married with two children. Jenny was raised in a family where she was trained to define her self- worth through other’s approval – that is, Jenny believes that if the others value what she does, she is ok, but should they don’t, then she is unworthy and unlovable. Therefore, Jenny’s almost constant intent is to get love and approval. She does this by attempting to do everything perfectly – the house has to be perfect; the food has to be flawless; she’s to obtain everyone an ideal gift. She believes that if everything is perfect, she can have control over how the others feel about her, and she’ll obtain the approval she believes she must feel worthy.
The problem is that attempting to do everything perfectly creates plenty of stress. Whatever means we use – whether it be perfection, compliance, anger or blame – we shall continually be stressed once the intent is to have control over getting love and approval. 
Because Jenny does not know how to define her own worth, she feels empty inside until she gets approval. Once she gets the approval, she feels an instant of fullness, which rapidly disappears and must be filled again with an increase of approval. The others around her feel her pull for approval, and may also feel stressed when confronted with it. They could like what she does for them, but they may not feel loved by her giving in their mind to obtain their approval.
Josephine can be married with children. Josephine also was raised to trust that her worth was based on other’s approval. However, Josephine did enough inner emotional and spiritual work to learn to define her own worth. Because she is no more influenced by others’ approval to define her worth, she is absolved to express herself with techniques that are loving to herself and others. Instead of worrying about what anyone will think about her, Sophia cheerfully goes about decorating, cooking and buying gifts because it’s fun on her behalf to take action. For Josephine, the holidays are a chance to express herself and her love for the others. Because she is defining and expressing her own worth, she feels full inside. Approval may be the icing on the cake, nonetheless, it is not the cake itself.
Because Josephine receives such joy from expressing herself and giving to the others without needing any such thing in exchange to feel worthy, the others feel loved by her giving. While some may be stressed if they are giving to obtain approval, Josephine herself remains peaceful and joyful.
We all have a choice each moment to decide who you want to be – a person who is trying to possess control over getting love and approval, or perhaps a one who is giving love to ourselves and others. Who we opt to be determines how we feel. If our intent is to get love and approval, then we may believe that the others determine our feelings, nonetheless, it is actually our own intent that is in charge, of how we find yourself feeling.
Why not begin right now, before the holidays, noticing your intent? Why not open currently to provide yourself – the kid within you – the approval, he or she must feel worthy? If you begin to practice today being in the intent to love yourself and others, perhaps by the time the holidays come around you can genuinely have a great time!