Holiday Stress: There’s No Such Thing As A Stressful Situation

by Doc Orman, M.D.

The Holiday Season is well underway, and hopefully everything went well during your Thanksgiving weekend.

Statistically speaking, however, the chances are good that you encountered some degree of stress during the past several days.  If so, there’s also a very good chance you encountered one or more situations that you automatically assumed to be stressful.

Situations Are Never Stressful

While we commonly think that situations can be stressful, it’s important to distinguish that situations and stress are two separate things.  I know it appears that some situations (especially very bad ones) are inherently stressful, but this is not really true. 

Situations are what they are…just events that happen in life…no more and no less.  Whether or not we become stressed by them is another matter entirely.  Situations are a function of what happens in life.  Stress is a function of what happens inside us.

Some people, for example, can experience extremely horrible circumstances at times, yet they do not become highly stressed by them.  This doesn’t mean they don’t react to such happenings, as we all are strongly affected by events such as deaths, disasters, sudden illness, sudden financial loss, etc.  But there is also great variability in how much long-term stress people experience in response to similar situations or events.

Don’t Give Up Your Power

When we make the mistake of thinking situations themselves can be stressful, we surrender a good bit of our power to do something about our feelings.  After all, if our stress is part of the situation itself, there’s little we can do to obtain relief, unless we can change the situation.

On the other hand, the moment we recognize that the situation or event is one thing, and the source of our stress lies mainly within ourselves, this opens the door for us to exert direct personal control over our suffering.

Whether you know how to exercise this type of direct personal control, or not, at least the possibility is now open to you.  If you don’t know how to take full advantage of your own internal coping powers, you can always learn how to do this, provided you have the desire to do so.


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

Here’s a link to an article from on the 10 most stressful situations in life. 



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