The Unconscious Mind: Why Family Gatherings Are So Stressful

The holidays are a time for family gatherings, but for many people they can also be a source of stress. This is because the unconscious mind is often triggered by family dynamics. For example, if you grew up with an alcoholic parent, the unconscious mind may be expecting drama and chaos during family gatherings. This can lead to anxiety and stress. By understanding how the unconscious mind works, you can better manage your expectations and experience less stress during the holidays.

Table of contents

The psychological effects of being around family members that you don’t get along with.

When you’re around family members that you don’t get along with, it can be very stressful and emotionally draining. This can lead to a number of different psychological effects, such as anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, being around family members that you don’t get along with can also make it difficult to focus and concentrate, as well as increasing your overall stress levels.

The impact of stress on the body during family gatherings.

During family gatherings, we may feel pressure to meet the expectations of others or to conform to certain social norms. This can lead to increased levels of stress, which can take a toll on our physical and mental health.

Some of the ways that stress can impact our health include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach or indigestion
  • Anxiety or depression

Why some families find it more difficult to connect with each other than others.

In some cases, families may live in different parts of the country or even the world and only see each other sporadically. This can make it hard to maintain close relationships. Other times, families may have different interests or schedules that make spending time together difficult. Additionally, some families simply don’t have the same kind of close bond that others do. This can be for a variety of reasons, including personality differences or past conflict.

How family dynamics can influence our own mental health.

The family is the first social group to which a child belongs. It is through the family that children learn about communication, relationships, and how to cope with difficult emotions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the family can have a significant impact on our mental health.

There are many different types of families, and each one can affect our mental health in different ways. For example, a family that is very close-knit and supportive may help to reduce stress and anxiety, while a family that is tense and conflict-ridden may contribute to feelings of depression and isolation.

It is important to remember that every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek out the support of a professional who can help you understand how your family dynamics may be affecting your mental health.

The role of communication in reducing stress during family gatherings.

If you’re the one organizing the gathering, be sure to communicate your expectations and needs to your family members in advance. This will help them know what to expect and allow them to be more prepared.

During the gathering itself, keep the lines of communication open. If there are any issues that arise, address them immediately. Don’t let things simmer and boil over. Instead, talk about what’s going on and work together to find a solution.

Finally, after the gathering is over, take some time to debrief with your family. Talk about what went well and what could be improved upon for next time. This will help to ensure that future gatherings are even more enjoyable and stress-free.

The importance of setting boundaries with family members.

Family relationships are some of the most emotionally charged and complex relationships we have. There’s a lot of history and emotion involved, and it can be very difficult to navigate these relationships without clear boundaries.

Setting boundaries with your family members doesn’t mean you don’t love them or that you’re not interested in having a relationship with them. It simply means that you’re setting limits on what you will and will not tolerate from them.

It’s important to set boundaries with your family members because:

1. It allows you to maintain a healthy relationship.

If you don’t set boundaries, you’re likely to allow your family members to take advantage of you or treat you in a way that is unhealthy. By setting boundaries, you can ensure that your relationship is based on mutual respect and love.

2. It helps you to avoid conflict.

If you don’t set boundaries, you’re likely to find yourself in constant conflict with your family members. This is because they will continue to push against your limits until you finally snap and have a big blow-out argument. By setting boundaries from the start, you can avoid this type of conflict.

3. It allows you to stay true to yourself.

If you don’t set boundaries, you’re likely to end up doing things that you don’t really want to do or that go against your own values and beliefs. This is because your family members will pressure you into doing things their way. By setting boundaries, you can make sure that you’re staying true to yourself and your own values.

4. It gives you a sense of control.

If you don’t set boundaries, you’re likely to feel like you have no control over your life or your relationship with your family members. This is because they will continue to push and test your limits until you finally give in. By setting boundaries, you can take back control of your life and your relationship.

5. It helps you to protect yourself emotionally.

If you don’t set boundaries, you’re likely to end up getting hurt emotionally by your family members. This is because they will say or do things that are designed to hurt you emotionally. By setting boundaries, you can protect yourself from this type of emotional damage.

How to deal with difficult emotions that come up during family gatherings.

It can be difficult to deal with intense emotions that come up during family gatherings. Sometimes, these emotions can be so overwhelming that they lead to conflict or even violence. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remember a few key things.

First, try to stay calm. It can be helpful to take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. This will help you to think more clearly and make better decisions.

Second, try to understand where the other person is coming from. It can be helpful to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, but it can help to build understanding and empathy.

Third, try to communicate calmly and effectively. It can be helpful to express your feelings and needs in a clear and concise way. This will help the other person to understand you better and hopefully find a resolution that works for both of you.

Fourth, if the situation continues to escalate, it may be necessary to remove yourself from the situation. This is not always easy, but it is sometimes necessary for your safety and well-being.

The impact of childhood experiences on our relationships with our families.

Our experiences during childhood play a large role in shaping our future relationships with our families. If we had positive experiences, such as feeling loved and supported, we are more likely to have positive relationships with our families as adults. On the other hand, if we had negative experiences, such as feeling neglected or abused, we are more likely to have negative relationships with our families as adults.

It is important to remember that even if we had negative experiences during childhood, we can still work on having positive relationships with our families as adults. We can do this by communicating openly and honestly with our family members, setting boundaries, and seeking support from other people if needed.

How to create a more positive family environment.

One of the most important things is to make sure that communication is open and respectful. This means that family members should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other, and should also be willing to listen to what others have to say.

Another important thing to do is to make sure that everyone in the family feels like they are valued and respected. This includes giving everyone a chance to share their opinion, and making sure that everyone feels like they are heard. It is also important to spend time together as a family, and to do things that everyone enjoys.

Lastly, it is important to remember that families are not perfect. There will be times when disagreements happen, and it is okay to have these. What is important is that families work together to resolve these disagreements in a positive way.

The importance of self-care during and after family gatherings.

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of family gatherings. Whether it’s a big holiday dinner or a small get-together, there’s always something to do and someone to talk to. But in the midst of all the excitement, it’s important to take a step back and care for yourself.

Self-care is important at any time, but it’s especially crucial during and after family gatherings. These events can be taxing on your emotions, and it’s important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Here are a few self-care tips to keep in mind during and after family gatherings:

1. Get enough sleep. It can be tempting to stay up late catching up with family members, but make sure you’re getting enough sleep. A good night’s rest will help you feel refreshed and recharged for the next day.

2. Eat healthy. With all the delicious food around, it can be easy to overindulge. But remember to eat healthy as well. Balance your meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

3. Take breaks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to yourself. Step outside for some fresh air, take a hot bath, or read your favorite book.

4. Be honest with yourself. If you’re not enjoying yourself, it’s okay to leave early. Don’t feel like you have to stay until the very end just because you’re family.

5. Reach out for help. If you’re struggling to cope with stress or anxiety, reach out for help from a professional. Talking to a therapist or counselor can be a great way to get support and work through your feelings.


The unconscious mind is a powerful tool that we can use to our advantage, but it’s also something that can easily work against us if we’re not careful. By understanding how the unconscious mind works and what triggers its reactions, we can better prepare ourselves for family gatherings (and other stressful events) and reduce the amount of stress they cause. Have you ever used any of these techniques to deal with an overly-stressful family gathering? What worked – and what didn’t? Let us know in the comments!