Holiday Stress: There’s No Such Thing As A Happy Holiday

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Continuing with the “there’s no such thing as…” theme for this week, I want to point out, in this post, that there’s also no such thing as a happy holiday.

In previous recent posts, we saw how there is no such thing as a stressful situation and there is also no such thing as a negative event.  While these two points relate to situations or events we automatically judge to be negative, the same principle applies to situations and events we judge to be positive as well.

Situations Are Not Inherently Positive or Negative

Again, the point to be emphasized here that that situations and events are just what happens in life.  They are not inherently positive or negative.  Any positivity or negativity we experience is being generated totally within us (i.e., within our bodies) whether we are consciously aware of this or not.

Depending upon how you choose to view any given situation or event, therefore, you can have it become either positive or negative for you.  For example, a co-worker gets promoted to the job you coveted.  You can choose to view this as something negative (I didn’t get what I wanted) or you can choose to view this as something positive (this is wonderful for the other person).  The choice of how we view the event is entirely up to us.

There’s A Ying For Every Yang

In most Western cultures, people are raised, from a very young age, to view events in life from an “either/or” perspective.  Things that happen are viewed as being either good or bad. And there is no acknowledgement that goodness and badness are assessments we make—they are viewed as inherent qualities of events themselves.

In other cultures, however, such as with many Eastern philosophies, life is viewed from a “both/and” perspective.  The presumption is that events in life always have both good AND bad qualities to them.  One should not restrict one’s perspective to just a single side of any either/or dichotomy. One should always expand one’s perspective to include both sides instead.

Here again, there may be little acknowledgment that both good and bad qualities do not reside with the event itself.  But at least Eastern cultures recognize that there are dual characteristics to almost everything.  This is embodied in the classic YinYang perspective.

There Are No Happy Holidays

This brings us back to my original point that there is no such thing as a happy holiday.  There are just holidays that we decide make us happy.  In reality, we could choose to be happy about anything that happens during the holidays, since happiness, like negativity and stressfulness, does not reside in the events that happen themselves (even “terrible” events). Happiness is a choice we can always make for ourselves.

So go forth and have a very happy Holiday Season, and don’t let your happiness or personal enjoyment be determined by whatever events might happen to occur.


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

Here’s a link to a website devoted to authentic happiness that features the work of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.




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