Holiday Stress: There’s No Such Thing As A Negative Event

by Doc Orman, M.D.

In my previous post, we examined the proposition that there is no such thing as a stressful situation–during the Holiday Season or any other time of the year.  In this blog post, I want to suggest that there is also no such thing as a negative event.

There are many events that occur during the holidays (and other times of the year) that we consider to be negative.  Here again, it often appears to us that the “negativity” we perceive is part and parcel of the event itself.

Events Are Never Negative

While we commonly think that certain types of events are inherently negative, they are not.  Events are one thing, and our interpretations or judgments about them are quite another.

I know that it sometimes appears certain events (especially traumatic ones) are inherently negative, but this is not really true.  The negativity is something we add to the event, even though we may not be consciously aware we are doing this.

The proof of this proposition is easy to discern.  There are always some people who regard certain so-called negative events positively.  For example, the stock market crashes and some people get extremely excited, because they see huge opportunities for future financial gain.  The housing market takes a nose dive, and some savy (and wealthy) real estate investors start licking their chops.

The point here is not to say that if you lose money in the stock market or if the housing crisis put you in serious financial difficulty that these events didn’t have a negative impact upon you.  Rather, my point is simply that the events themselves, and your perception of negativity, are two entirely separate things.  The negativity never lies in the event itself.  It always lies within you…and that’s very important to always keep in mind.

Why Is This Distinction Important?

As we saw in the previous post, when we mistakenly assume that qualities such as “negativity” or “stressfulness” are part of events themselves, we give up much of our power to exert direct personal control over our emotions and our future possibilities.

When you falsely believe that negativity is part of the event itself, there doesn’t appear to be much you can do about it.  On the other hand, when you correctly understand that the event is one thing and that negativity was your automatic, internal response to it, suddenly you now have some choice in the matter.

Do I want to continue viewing this event as negative?  Are there also some positive aspects of this event that I didn’t initially recognize?  Are there things I can do in response to this event that can turn it into a positive outcome?

These personal choices won’t be available to you as long as you believe any negativity you perceive is set in stone (i.e., is part of the event itself).  And when you think of events in this incorrect way, you don’t recognize that you do have some say in the matter.  In other words, you lose personal power to control both your immediate feelings and your future destiny.

Practice This Skill During The Holidays

While many things can and do happen during the holidays that we automatically consider to be stressful or negative in nature, let’s take a more positive view of these occurrences.

Just think about all the opportunities you will have during the next few weeks to practice this important skill of distinguishing events themselves as being separate from your assessments of negativity or inherent stressfulness.

What a great way to benefit from any stressful or negative events that might happen to you.  And as you work on building this stress-relieving skill during the Holiday Season, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your efforts all throughout the year as well.

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

I don’t consider myself a spiritual person, however here’s a blog post from Ellen Sutherland, who writes a blog called Being Spiritual, on one interesting way to relate to negative events in life. 



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Amid Yousef December 4, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Thanks for this perspective DOC…
In another words, Perceptions are realities to those who perceive it…


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