This holiday season has evoked some new ideas about stress and resilience that may be helpful to readers. These ideas center around transforming stress into an opportunity to thrive during the holidays.

First, I had been collecting stories of people who have recovered from severe stress and found a common set of themes in these stories. It turns out that many of these themes (and values) overlap with those of the holiday season. People who move past resilience and really thrive and flourish, touch into universal attributes of humanity that are also expressed this time of year. Following is a partial list.

  • The ability to really celebrate life (knowing it is precious)
  • The ability to reminisce in a healthy way about what one has lost and be enriched by letting go
  • The ability to be with family and contribute (not just receive from) family
  • A daily sense of generosity (giving in small ways)
  • A sense of renewal, of starting over, that is ongoing (not just the first of the year!)
  • Tapping into the strength of spirit that has gotten us through another year!
  • Tapping into the fact that “we are all human” and none of us is ever truly alone

Please feel free to add to this list (you can tweet us @orgwellness).

Second, a recent series of events led me to also see the Holiday relevance of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I had written a blog on Holiday diets,  participated in a Twitter Party, gave an interview on holiday stress, and trained others in the use of stress management tools for the holidays. It dawned on me that the Holidays are a prime opportunity to grow in our potential by stepping up through the hierarchy.


  • Physiologically, we have the choice to over-indulge or eat well
  • Regard safety, we have the choice to rush about or take our time getting places and doing tasks
  • For love and belonging, we may have multiple opportunities to be kind and harmonious
  • Regarding esteem, we can give gifts that show esteem and also receive gifts graciously
  • As for self-actualization, consider the themes and values listed above and focus on that which renews your spirit

Also,  throughout the past month, I have been discussing the spiritual meanings of two Holiday Movies: A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. These are helpful movies to watch to help us both get in touch with the themes mentioned above and to activate higher striving for self-actualization (thriving). I recently discovered this tool you can use before watching these (or any holiday) movies.

If you are interesting in exploring these ideas more, please check out our recorded webinar and tool-kit and these other recent media.

  • A recent blog on Holiday Dieting and how we can bring meaning to food
  • A recent radio interview on meanings of stress in the holiday season
  • A simple tool to help you revise your holiday stressors into holiday uplifts and gifts!

Purchase the webinar and and toolkit for only $9.99! 

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