Holiday Stress: Failing To Clarify Agreements & Expectations

by Doc Orman, M.D.

One of the common causes of stress in our lives, all throughout the year, is the action pattern: Failing To Clarify Agreements & Expectations.  This frequent hidden cause of stress can also create lots of havoc during the Holiday Season.

Failing To Clarify Agreements

How many times have you made an agreement with someone, but you failed to specify the terms of that agreement, so both you and the other party are in complete unison about exactly what is to be done?  Maybe you promised to do something for someone but didn’t nail down a specific due date or time.  Or you purchased a service from a vendor and didn’t have a written agreement (contract) or you did have one, but you forgot to include certain critical requirements.

When we fail to clarify our agreements in these ways, we leave ourselves wide open for stress and disappointment.  Yes, it may take a little more time and a little more effort to always make it your habit to get these “conditions of satisfaction” thoroughly spelled out, but it’s one of the best things you can do to prevent stress in your life.

Failing To Clarify Expectations

We’ve already noted in previous posts that expectations can run rampant during the Holiday Season.  When we fail to communicate (and clarify) our expectations with others, we similarly leave ourselves open to stress and interpersonal conflicts.

During the Holiday Season, our need to clarify agreements and expectations is even more important than during other times of the year.  This is because we have many more commitments and expectations than usual, and hence many more opportunities for misunderstandings and clashes.

So try to avoid skipping these stress-preventing steps.  It’s easier to just assume that everything will be well understood, but experience teaches us that very often, this is not this case.

Here’s a link to my free holiday stress relief e-book on Facebook.

Here’s a link to some additional holiday stress relief information from Psychology Today. 



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