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Are You Letting Joy or Stress Dictate Your Holiday Season?

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“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

Sometimes holiday stress overrides our joy. We get caught up with decorating, buying gifts, and the plethora of other overwhelming holiday expectations.

We miss out on the daily pleasure and joyful opportunities all around us because stress is taking precedence.

All of this stress isn’t necessary. It comes from placing our attention on all of the materialistic aspects of the holiday season and getting distracted from what is most important.

When we get distracted we end up missing out on the entire point of the holiday.

This is a time of year for gratitude, appreciation, love, and joy.

Yes there will be stress and a feeling of pressure and urgency at times, but we can learn to balance this with some holiday cheer.

Here are four ways to help you have more joy during the holidays.

Lower your expectations

First thing first, don’t take the holiday so seriously. Everyone has different traditions but allow yourself some space and cut yourself some slack if something doesn’t happen exactly how you expect. Don’t make it things a problem unless they really are a problem. The holiday doesn’t have to be perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and just do your best.

Allow yourself to take a break

Sometimes our responsibilities and obligations get in the way of our health and well-being. We have so many worries and things to take care of that we forget that life is meant to be enjoyed. Make sure to give yourself a break when you are feeling stressed out. Just slow down and do one thing at a time.

Focus on connection 

The holiday season is really about spending quality time with friends and family. Make this the focus of this holiday season. It isn’t about the gifts as much as the joy of giving and showing our appreciation for those we care about.

Be playful

What if you could take this holiday season less seriously? Not do less or be irresponsible, but be more playful with what you do. Think about when you were a child and how much fun you had. Make decorating playful. Sing songs, watch holiday movies and dance. Go sledding or have a snow ball fight! Don’t let stress get in the way or you having fun.

Life’s too short to not live joyfully. It is a choice we can make but one that requires commitment. It requires letting go of outcomes and the concentration to be present and savor the moment.

Are you committed to being joyful this holiday?



Are You Letting Joy or Stress Dictate Your Holiday Season?

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2014). Are You Letting Joy or Stress Dictate Your Holiday Season?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Dec 2014
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