Now that the holiday season has begun, you’ll be hearing a lot about joy and gratitude. But what if you’re feeling more like Scrooge than Tiny Tim?
It’s hard to be constantly told you should be feeling joyful when you’re really not feeling the thanks in Thanksgiving. In fact, the pressure to be happy can cause you to feel even worse.
Before you decide to put on a happy face and fake it, consider these options.
1. No one can tell you how to feel. You are under no obligation to pretend to feel something you’re not. You might think you’re supposed to slink off by yourself if you can’t be fun to be with. But sometimes when you share how you’re really feeling with someone who cares about you, it can take the pressure off.
2. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a good friend. You deserve it. No one beats you up worse than you do. Stuff a sock in the mouth of that mean voice for awhile and be the friend you need, make some chicken soup, and give yourself a hug.
3. Throw a pity party or have a tantrum and yell, cry and let it out. When you stop suppressing your feelings and allow yourself to feel them, they can stop festering. If you’re worried you won’t be able to stop, set a timer for 10 minutes, an hour or a day.
4. Focus on this moment – not on what occurred in the past or what might occur in the future, but just on what is present right now. Be aware of your breathing. Sense your body. Then, look around until you notice something interesting. Focus on it for a full 60 seconds. Notice the details – the colors… the shapes… the texture… What is most interesting about it? Take a deep breath and notice how you feel in this particular moment. You might be surprised by what occurs.
5. Notice some simple things in your life that you tend to take for granted or overlook. Let your attention linger on some of the little things you appreciate – the taste of chocolate, the warmth of your coffee, the color of your socks, or the softness of your sweater. Forget majestic sunsets and things you think you’re supposed to appreciate but can’t. Sometimes it’s easier feel pleasure in the little things than the big ones.