Learn, Share, Grow - Using Positive Psychology During the Holidays

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December 19, 2022

Below is a lesson from Clarity Clinic on how positive psychology techniques can help to manage stress and emotions over the holidays, as well as our key learnings.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Using Positive Psychology During the Holidays

Managing Holiday Anxiety Using Positive Psychology

There’s a reason why the holidays are considered to be the most joyful time of the year. The holidays can be both an extremely fun and rewarding time. One of the reasons why the holidays can be viewed with such positivity is because of all the benefits we can gain from the holidays. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Seeing family and friends we may not get to see often throughout the year
  • Spending quality time with loved ones
    • Even during the year when we may see friends and family, we may be so busy that we do not fully let loose and enjoy actual quality time with those we love and cherish
  • Time away from work
    • Many people get extended breaks and vacations away from their job and can use this as a time to separate from work and recharge their battery
  • Giving and receiving gifts
    • It can be very rewarding to give presents to loved ones and bring them some joy and happiness, likewise, it can be great to receive presents from those we love

Unfortunately, not everything that comes with the holidays is beneficial. Here are some things to look out for during the holidays that may not be so positive:

  • Stress from planning holiday meals
    • It can be stressful trying to feed large numbers of people (which often gather on holidays) and planning, preparing, and cooking large meals can be a source of stress for some people
  • Financial burdens
    • While getting gifts for others is fun and rewarding, it can be tough trying to manage purchasing presents and staying within one’s budget
  • Stress and anxiety from “special” people
    • Many people have a friend or family member that will be referred to as a “special” person in our life
    • This “special” person may do things to get under our skin, irritate, and cause stress and anxiety when around them
    • While it can be great to see friends and family, it is important to be prepared for those who we know what buttons to push to get us worked up

Therefore, there are good things that come from the holidays as well as some not-so-great things that may accompany the holidays. Knowing this fact helps prepare for these fun, but stressful, times that the holidays may bring. However, knowing is only part of the battle.

Continue reading here.

Key Learnings:

  • Positive psychology suggests that it is best to focus on the strengths of an individual and community as well as the good that occurs to improve well-being and quality of life.
  • Positive psychology highlights the characteristics that allow individuals to flourish, achieve success, and overcome difficulties and obstacles.
  • Some of the qualities and principles of Positive Psychology:
    • Mindfulness
    • Gratitude
    • Optimism
    • Mental Toughness
    • Resilience
    • Grit
  • Some ways and examples of how to use positive psychology during the holidays to further enjoy the good times of the holidays and to cope with the stressors that the holidays can bring:
    • Enjoying the Rewards of the Holidays as Much as Possible:
      • Stay in the present moment! Take time to realize what you are doing and why you are doing it. When spending time with friends and family do just that -- don't get sidetracked or distracted with other thoughts or by your devices.
      • Be appreciative - instead of taking things for granted, appreciate everything, big and small. Each day of life is an opportunity to be thankful -- tomorrow is promised to no one. Enjoy time with those in your life and be appreciative of each moment you get to spend with them!
      • Persevere - it may be stressful or tedious to do some of the things you need to do, such as wrapping gifts or cooking the holiday meal, when you have many other important things on your plate. Stick with it and think of the end result -- why you are doing some of these things and the joy and experience you and those you care about will have when it is done.
    • Navigating the Stressors of the Holidays
      • Stay in the moment and realize that the stress and anxiety will pass.
      • Show gratitude, even for the negative -  reframe your thinking when you find yourself having negative thoughts or feelings to positive ones. Ex: viewing cooking holiday dinner for everyone as a negative to being grateful you have loved ones to cook for, spend time with.
      • Look for the positive/silver lining - when things start to feel tense or your anxiety is building, look for the optimistic viewpoint to keep your mood positive. 
  • It can be beneficial to use positive psychology techniques to help alleviate our mood during stressful moments and to get the most out of the joyous occasions the holidays may bring!


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