Arlene B. Englander

Licensed Psychotherapist, LCSW, MBA, PA

Help for Holiday Stress

For the past few postings I may have appeared to have strayed from the original intent of this blog. My writing has dealt with the tragedy atNewtown and my concerns about how we and our country need to change.  But as I write this I’m wondering, is that so far afield from what all of us, as thinking, growing, changing people need to do? When faced with stress we need to ask ourselves, similarly to the question posed by The Serenity Prayer, “What can I change? What must I accept? How will I know the difference?”

Holidays  can be especially stressful.  Many of my clients are coping with difficult people in their lives, and this is a time of year when we’re all having so much more face time with family and friends. In this regard there’s a quote I sometimes share from the late (and great)  George Carlin, who at one point quipped: “Positive thinking, schmozitive thinking. Some people think the glass is half empty. Others say it’s half full. I say it’s too big!”  That, in my opinion, is a great philosophy. When we lessen unrealistic expectations of others, of ourselves and of our lives,it’s so much easier to see the glass as more than half full and to fully realize how fortunate we are.

In terms of some of my efforts since Newtown, earlier today I conversed with a manager of a local outlet of a well-known toy chain. As we calmly looked at “The Best of the Best” display, we saw that “Grand Theft Auto” had been miss-placed on that exhibit, which seemed a relief to both of us. It’s “proper” place, however, was behind a glass panel, one shelf below “Assassins Creed III” and one shelf above a Mickey Mouse video, with no differentiation in category made between the three.  He promised me I’d hear back from a higher-level manager regarding myconcerns and my suggestion for a “Gun-Related Violence Section.  In this way parents would know what they’re purchasing. He believed there might be a better chance of segregating the offending videos into a section labelled “Mature”. But is that the message we really want to send our children? We conversed congenially, almost like old friends, united in the fact that we were both on the same page – the welfare of our children.

Yes, should these changes happen, they might seem like very small victories at best. Perhaps, though, at this time  we all need smaller”glasses”, to appreciate each other,  ourselves, and our lives. For  many of us this year our glasses are not just full, but overflowing. It’s so sad that is sometimes takes a tragedy to drive that home.  Tomorrow… I will share some tips on turning our New Year’s resolutions into reality  - less intense than some of my  recent blogs, but hopefully helpful and of interest.

All my best,

Arlene B. Englander, LCSW, MBA, PA


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