Asked to be an expert consultant for Playboy.com, here is Julie's holiday season advice on surviving with gratitude. Gratitude is an emotional process that is a perennial necessity for psychological well being and optimal performance.
Plenty has already been said about how the once family-centric holiday has been diminished by consumerism, but when choosing between a brand new PlayStation or a drunken tirade from Uncle Gary, the choice is a no-brainer. Still according to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Julie Gustafson, LMFT, the holiday season frequently amplifies stressors and introduces unique challenges, but self-reflection and the act of giving thanks can improve your mental health during this complicated time of year.
“In discussions [with my clients] leading up to the holidays, I see themes of worry,” says Gustafson. “Primarily, I see themes of anxiety and ‘what if’ thinking: What if my uncle gets drunk and makes a scene? What if my sister and I get in a fight? I also see themes of setting interpersonal boundaries around how much individual time is important versus how much family time is spent together. The politics of family dynamics come to life.”
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