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‘tis the season to be jolly: challenges of the holiday season

This festive season which is supposed to be a time of joy and renewal  can cause many challenges and crises, some of them self made and some made by others. It is an active season from an anger management perspective

Often there is too much to do, too many demands on time and money that including everything and everybody can be too much. We create an idea of the perfect Christmas, then unknowingly we up that perfection a notch and  then when the realisation hits us that we have put ourselves under undue pressure  we then make it worse by cramming in a mindset of panic and  ‘it’ cannot be modified.

385 christamas


We have spent too much money, we have agreed to go to too many functions, we become  afraid of offending anyone and we look at  season as one of obligation. We completely forget that it includes enjoying ourselves with others.

As we pack more and more the pace heats up, we eat too much, start rushing, drink too much and then there is trouble with other people

Where others can ruin things is when we end up at those family do’s and people we can’t stand are also invited. The polite “How are you?’ sinks to sarcastic and intrusive comments from distant relatives or nosy in-laws, others arrive at functions full of entitlement and the hosts end up fuming because they feel snubbed or taken for granted. And people get drunk, fights and arguments break out and the functions are polluted with toxic vibes.

Anger management is a defensive strategy, how can people protect themselves more effectively? When they don’t the emotional push gets overwhelming, rational thinking goes out the window. Those two bits of biology are always at play: the frontal cortex that makes smart decisions and the limbic system where emotions, cravings, must do’s, have to have take over. There are two conflicting dialogues; that emanate from the limbic system: one says” Is this good enough?” and the others says “It’s not going to be good enough”

We forget we are supposed to have a good time ourselves we become obligated to everyone except ourselves. We don’t budget, don’t ration our time and pace ourselves, don’t have realistic pictures of how other behave, eat frantically, too much coffee and too much booze. We don’t acknowledge we are doing our best and we don’t have to apologize. We move  from embarrassment to shame after the slightest hiccup and then run even faster.

Anger management is learning how to protect oneself. Ask “where am I not doing this?” You will know instantly. The brain is our servant not our master.

It is there to protect you. Use it.


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