• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: I feel stressed at the holidays.

You’re probably not surprised to hear that I’ve been seeing a number of clients who find the holidays stressful. For some, it’s the strain of encountering difficult relatives or running low on money, while for others it’s the extra tasks, such as shopping, baking, and event planning. And for those of us who tend to be perfectionists, holiday time can be especially daunting, particularly if we’re doing a lot of hosting.

One client, in particular--I’ll call her Jenny--came to me to work on a tendency toward perfectionism, and holiday duties had been getting her especially worked up about the details of a Christmas Eve dinner at her home. Jenny worried that all her gifts might not be liked, that her meal wouldn’t provide every possible food preference any guest could have, and that she could say the wrong thing to a critical uncle.

You might be able to relate to Jenny because you’re undoubtedly already well aware that stress increases when we believe that things need to be perfect—that everyone should get along and that plans must go smoothly. The fact is that other people often don’t behave the way we would like, and life has a habit of throwing letdowns and inconveniences our way. A parent, cousin, or friend will undoubtedly say the same annoying thing she or he always says, and there will probably be tension among certain family members. You might hit an unusual amount of traffic on the road, or the new recipe might not turn out so well. Money may run short, and you could receive a gift you don’t like and can’t exchange. In other words, the holidays will not be perfect.

It's important for us all to remember during the holidays, and throughout the year, that a willingness to allow imperfection in other people and in situations leads to greater inner peace and satisfaction. If, instead of looking for perfection, you notice all the little things that are worth appreciating, you’re sure to have a much better experience.

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis audio program and the All Day Hypnosis audio courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs

Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com

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