Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Happiness and the Holiday Blues

The Thanksgiving Holiday season kicks off a five week period of time that brings back memories of happiness and accomplishment for millions of people. This special day is filled with family traditions, memories, and expectations that some people find difficult, or impossible, to manage. Frequently, our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression, commonly called the holiday blues. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends. Part of what happens during the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events, while other aspects of mood change and anxiety may be rooted in unresolved grief and loss. Irregardless, the challenge comes from coping with these feelings in a safe and positive manner. Unfortunately, many people deal with the uncomfortable and often overwhelming feelings by overdrinking, overeating, and overspending. It may be important to note that these feelings of sadness and depression can reach a clinical level during the holiday season. If you, or someone you love, begin to have thoughts of suicide, homicide, or other high risk or self injurious behaviors, please seek professional help immediately, or call the crisis hotline at (714) NEW-HOPE (714) 639-4673. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. The demands of the season are many and varied: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties and extra financial burdens are part of the short list as the season unfolds. Our current recessionary economy may still be affecting us, or someone close to us, which further exacerbates stress levels leaving many feeling even more depressed. Keeping our lives in perspective on this special day of sharing and caring, can make a big difference in how well we are able to cope with the extra stress and uncomfortable feelings. The following tips are something for people to consider to help manage the additional stress and anxiety that this special day carries. Remembering that even though it feels uncomfortable, sometimes family, friends, and co-workers may lose sight of the feelings of other people during this busy holiday season. It is not personal! Being considerate and compassionate toward others is a tough balancing act. The following recipe for Holiday Harmony is worth your consideration.     
C.A.R.E.S. recipe for Happy Holidays:

1. Communication: Keep it positive with an extra dose of active listening to make people feel like you really care. People feel more at ease when you are genuinely interested in a conversation.
2. Anger Management: Recognize your triggers and walk away from verbal conflicts before they escalate. It’s ok to “put your temper in the crock pot before you lose your top”. It’s ok to ask for a time out when your upset, frustrated, or feeling flustered from negative emotions. It’s ok to cool off and regroup.  
3. Relationship Management: Plan your day and company with positive people. This is a special challenge when large groups come together. Please consider this time as a few hours of compromise when that obnoxious family member or person makes their cameo appearance with other people you care about.
4. Emotional Intelligence: Please consider other peoples thoughts, feelings and opinions before taking a stand or making a comment to someone else. Please remember we have two ears to listen twice as much as we speak. Interrupting a conversation is considered to be inconsiderate or rude behavior. Please remember your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body. The words you choose can easily overwhelm another person in a negative way if your tone, body language or lack of consideration are not well measured.
5. Stress Management: Develop an awareness of your negative stressors and consider writing them down if your memory banks are easily overwhelmed. Remember that “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Time and financial management are critical especially during the busy holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at North Valley Anger Management Consultants! For further information regarding anger management, emotional intelligence, or domestic violence, please call 1-888-992-6479 or visit our website at For further information regarding crisis intervention please call 1-714-NEW HOPE (714-639-4673) or visit

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