Home » Blogs » Discovering a New You » What Matters Most This Holiday, And How To Cope

What Matters Most This Holiday, And How To Cope

I want to take a moment to remind us of a few things for this holiday season that I think will help us work through difficult moments.

When I ask what matters most, I can eliminate many things. It’s not my dog or cat, although some would say it is. It’s not the clothes on my back or the roof over my head, although I’m very grateful to have both. It’s not money, because money can’t buy you happiness (sometimes it can).

Is it something less tangible like joy or happiness? Maybe. But I think it’s something deeper than that. It’s related to those things.

When I sit down with my family at the dinner table, it’s clear what matters most (and what brings terror to many): family!

Family matters most. Now, for lots of people family is a mixed bag of joy and terror.

So how do we deal with family during the holidays?

1. Respect your elders.

I know you want to voice your opinions, but if you stick to this rule of respecting those older than you then it will come across and bring more peace than you might expect. You don’t have to agree with their opinions, but you do have to listen and give consideration of those older than you. Holiday time is about listening, sharing some ideas here and there, but not necessarily agreeing with everything you hear.

2. Be like water.

Water takes the shape of whatever it flows through. In Chinese astrology, water is a gentle element and non-threatening. It does not cause abrupt change. With water everything is gradual. But make no mistake, water is plenty powerful. You can be strong, but go with the proverbial flow and at family times mold yourself to maintain harmony.

3. Eat enough but not in excess.

When people eat in excess, it shows a lack of control which could evoke judgement from those around you. Stay in control, and stop eating before you feel full. Show family self-restraint. By holding back a tad, others will notice your self control and lay the groundwork for subconscious approval. Give it a try. Your waistline will thank you as well.

With these three approaches, you will find more enjoyment among family especially for those who have difficult times among family members. Family is what matters most, but it does not guarantee peace and quiet. Respect your elders, mold yourself to the situation without any confrontation like water, and show some self-restraint. These may seem obvious, but a little reminder goes a long way.

by Dr. Charles Chaney

President, the Depression Health Network

What Matters Most This Holiday, And How To Cope

Dr. Charles

Dr. Charles Chaney is a leading pain medicine physician and psychiatrist in Southern California who specializes in women's health. He completed training in interventional pain medicine at UCSD and in general adult and reproductive psychiatry at UCLA. He has several publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, and has given numerous talks at medical conferences.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Chaney, C. (2014). What Matters Most This Holiday, And How To Cope. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 22 Dec 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Dec 2014
Published on All rights reserved.