At the end of the year there are so many cues around us that tell us that we should be happy and that we should reflect on our lives. Humbug! Find out how not to fall prey to the holiday blues that are so common. A couple of key ideas from psychology will be applied here: Irrational Thinking and Social Comparison.
Irrational Thinking: there are too many cues in our environment that tell us that we should be happy or that everybody else is happy around this time. It’s simply not true. Don’t expect or demand of yourself that you be happy. I can hear psychologist Albert Ellis saying now, “Where is it written that you should be happy?“. I’m sure he would also point out that everybody else is not happy – assuming that they are just because many people wear a (probably false) expression of happiness does not mean that other people are in some kind of great mood.
Social Comparison: too often we compare ourselves to others who we think are doing well (or at least better) than we are. Remember to compare downward as well: you’re doing better than a lot of people in this world.
Be Grateful: there’s plenty of research on the psychology of happiness that tells us that recognizing what we have that is great will make us feel better. If you must assess your life at this time (and you don’t have to) remember to take into account the good things.