Sunday, August 16, 2009

About the Stress of The Holidays


"Seventy percent of disease causation right now is lifestyle and environment." --Elliott Dacher, M.D.

Interesting that there was a lead article on about happiness and aging. In sum, the article said that the older you get the happier you are -- because you learn to eliminate/avoid negative situations. I think, as an EQ coach, that you learn -- by good examples and bad examples -- what works for you.

Example: My client, I'll call her Paula, is stressing out about Christmas. Yes, for those who look ahead and plan (an EQ competency), it is time to start "thinking about Christmas." What you will do, with whom, where, and how. This includes budgeting, too. Paula now has grown children. 3 live in her same town, 2 live elsewhere, and one of them has a baby. Paula was talking about Christmas mainly in terms of how much she dreaded (1) the "mandatory" Christmas Eve visit to the in-laws; (2) not enough rooms for the kids, so who has to get a hotel; (3) working things out with the otherset of parents; (4) sitting and staring at each other Christmas Day because it's the "tradition" that everyone stay at the house all day; (5) not wanting a "public" exchanging of gifts because of the different incomes and life circumstances of the grown children.

Ultimately in our coaching session, Paula discovered that she wanted to "cancel" the "old Christmas" and "do something different" -- thereby eliminating a lot of negatives -- things that had proven to be unpleasant, things that she knew stressed her. And -- I led her to articulate -- that no one really enjoyed anymore, they just "thought they had to because they always had."

Paula began to construct a Christmas she would enjoy.

At one point she used the phrase "making a virtue of a necessity." The actuality is that Christmas is going to change, e.g., the couple with the baby would not want to travel. The son in New Mexico would not be able to have time off at Christmas. Paula just didn't like cooking the whole meal herself and felt resentful about it. One of the couples was struggling financially, and could hardly afford food and shelter, much less Christmas gifts.

Paula is deciding what she will keep, and what she will change. The main thing is that she is feeling a whole better about the whole situation because she realized that she has choices.

I invite you to do the same!

There are 3 things you can do with a situation you don't like:

Change the situation
Change your attitude

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