Giving Thanks is Good For You
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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