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January 03, 2007

The Indy Shrink


Getting Rid of the Holiday Blues

It's a cliché by now that the cheer and good feelings the holidays are supposed to bring can do just the opposite for some people. Instead of feeling the joys of the season, they are plagued with the "holiday blues."

The reasons are many but fall under the general heading of failing to keep some joy in your life the whole year round. Remember, when you get to the holidays, there is often more pressure at work, not less; at the same time, you are thrown into more intimate contact with friends and family and you may not be prepared for that. So expecting things to be better just because holiday time is here can be a big let down that leaves some people depressed and bewildered about why they cannot just "get with the program" and experience some relief from the demands and shortcomings of their everyday lives.

Let me give my recipe for a way to beat those holiday blues.

First, make sure that you have the highest quality ingredients for your own emotional cake: a good solid helping of reasonable self-esteem is the way to start. Add a few dollops of understanding and compassion for family and friends. Blend in realistic expectations of yourself in relation to your life's goals. You want enthusiasm and optimism, yes, but you can certainly do without any sense of fear or anxiety about attaining those goals.

Remember, despite what some "fast emotional food" motivational gurus may tell you, you are not going to get all the things you want out of life. But so what! The good news is that you don't need to in order to make a happy and tasty emotional life cake for yourself.

Now comes the key ingredient that you may have already guessed will bind all the rest together. Yes, that's right. Love, love, love. This is not an emotional "lowfat, low sugar" recipe. In this case, just take the sweetness that love brings and put in as much as you would like. Now, mix and cook that cake by attending to your life every day and not just at holiday time. If you do, then the holidays become the wonderful icing on that cake.

Follow this recipe and you will have foiled the Grinch of the holiday blues and you will be able to slather the icing of the joy of a holiday filled with family and friends on the solid base of your own emotional cake made out of caring attention to your everyday life. That's an unbeatable combination. Enjoy!

Frank Mosca Ph.D. is a licensed counselor, life and marital coach with a practice in Hampton Bays and Garden City. You can see his views at puttingmindsinmotion.com.

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