Holiday Stress: What Hidden Causes Do You Sometimes Miss?

by Doc Orman, M.D.

In the previous post holiday stress: obvious causes, we looked at a list of common causes of holiday stress that most people easily recognize and talk about.  These are the causes that usually occur outside of us, which usually makes them very easy to see.

Obvious causes include things like external events in life, the behavior of others, things that go wrong, things that happen unexpectedly, etc.

Hidden Causes Of Holiday Stress

We also noted that there is another list of causes of holiday stress that includes all the internal, not-so-obvious causes of holiday stress that occur within us, and therefore are much more difficult for us to recognize.

We did not review that list of causes (hint: it’s hidden), but I am going to share many of them with you in this series of posts dedicated exclusively to helping you better understand the origin of stress during the holidays.

Conversations and Action Patterns

I like to think of the hidden causes of stress as consisting of two very large categories:  internal conversations and internal action patterns.  To me, the term “conversations” is just a more accurate way of referring to things we otherwise call thoughts, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, theories, assumptions, conclusions, ideas, etc. After all, all of these words refer to things that take place entirely within human language, so when we are having any type of thoughts, consciously or otherwise, we are really having conversations with ourselves in language. (See my previous post on causes of stress: the role of language in human stress.)

The term “action pattern” or “behavior pattern” if you prefer is self-explanatory. However, I do want to emphasize that it includes both actions that we do take and actions that we might fail to take.  For example, if you fail to file your income taxes with the IRS each year, this lack of action could easily become a significant cause of stress for you.

How Does This Relate To Holiday Stress?

In this ongoing series of posts about holiday stress, I’m going to be focusing on a number of hidden conversations and action patterns that frequently cause stress during the Holiday Season.  For example, in the next post, we’re going to take a deeper look at the role our internal expectations play in generating stress during this time of year.

We’ll also examine how our tendencies to want to control the behavior of others, or to have things always go the way we want, can contribute to unnecessary stress for ourselves and for others.

We’ll also consider how our choice of coping strategies, such as using alcohol or food to cope with our holiday stress may actually make matters worse, rather than better.

Here’s The Good News!

The good news about becoming more familiar with the internal conversations and action patterns that might be contributing to your holiday stress is that these hidden causes, once you recognize them, are entirely within your direct personal control.

There is much you can do about each and every one of them to help either prevent holiday stress from occurring or to make it go away very quickly.  And you won’t need to use cigarettes, alcohol, illegal drugs, relaxation exercises or any other type of stress management technique to do so.

That’s the awesome power of gaining more insight into the hidden causes of any type of stress in your life.

So stay tuned to learn more about these specific hidden causes.

Also, you can download a free copy of my Holiday Stress Relief E-book  (no email required) by clicking on the cover image below:

Have A Stress Free Holiday Season


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kamren November 22, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Very valid, pithy, sccuncit, and on point. WD.


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